The list of nominees for the Golden Boy award, which crowns the best player under 21 years of age in the elite of world football, is flush with talented youngsters who ply their trade in Germany.

Which starlets are up for the award previously won by Borussia Dortmund’s Mario Götze in 2011 and Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches in 2016? bundesliga.com has the scoop.

With 15 individual players from 11 different clubs in the running for this prestigious award, the depth of talent on display every weekend in the Bundesliga is clear for everyone to see. The fact that recently promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf’s Davor Lovren is also in the list further highlights this fact and illustrates the quality work being done in German football at every level.

Homegrown heroes are also a common thread amongst the nominees, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz, Bayern Munich’s Fabian Benko, Hertha Berlin’s Arne Maier, and Hoffenheim’s Dennis Geiger all coming from their respective clubs’ youth academies.

Bundesliga scouting departments are also worthy of praise looking at the list of 2018 Golden Boy nominees. American sensations Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) and Weston McKennie (Schalke) are joined by other foreign talents to have found a home in Germany, such as France’s Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig) and England’s Reece Oxford, who spent last season on loan at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Meet the Bundesliga nominees for the 2018 Golden Boy

Fabian Benko, Bayern Munich

Age: 20
Position: Attacking midfielder

Spending 13 years at Bayern Munich will help you become a top class footballer, and that’s what Fabian Benko has done. However, unable to break into the first-team with the Bavarians – making one first-team appearance in 2016/17 – Benko has now moved onto Austrian side Linzer ASK.

Danny Collinge, VfB Stuttgart

Age: 20
Position: Centre-back

One of the Englishmen who has come to Germany to develop as a player is Daniele Collinge. The 20-year-old has not reached Stuttgart's first team yet, but has been making his mark in the Swabians' youth and reserve teams. With more that 50 appearances now under his belt, a first-team chance is sure to come in 2018/19.

Javairo Dilrosun, Hertha Berlin

Age: 20
Position: Left wing

A graduate of the highly-regarded Ajax academy, Dilrosun joined English Premier League side Manchester City when he was 16. After furthering his development, the Dutch winger has made the decision to move to the Bundesliga this season, where he will show off the bright talents which have earned him a Golden Boy nomination.

Mamadou Doucoure, Borussia Monchengladbach

Age: 20
Position: Centre-back

A Gladbach player since 2016, injuries have plagued the start of the young Frenchman’s career. The Senegal-born centre-back has yet to make an appearance for Borussia’s first-team, but is in contention for a break-out 2018/19 season. If he can stay fit, you won’t want to miss it.

Dennis Geiger, Hoffenheim

Age: 20
Position: Centre midfielder

After his breakthrough season in 2017/18, Geiger is regarded as one of the biggest prospects in the Bundesliga. His 21 league appearances for Hoffnheim returned two goals and one assist, but his role as a deep-lying playmaker mean his job doesn’t get rewarded with such statistics. A favourite of Julian Nagelsmann, Geiger will surely be set for more game-time this coming season.

Dennis Geiger became a first-team regular for Hoffenheim in 2017/18.
Dennis Geiger became a first-team regular for Hoffenheim in 2017/18. © gettyimages / Alexander Scheuber

Kai Havertz, Bayer Leverkusen

Age: 19
Position: Attacking midfielder

Already one of the biggest names in German and indeed European football, Kai Havertz has taken the Bundesliga by storm since his debut in 2016. The attacking midfielder – who can play in any position behind the striker, utilising his incredible technical dribbling skills – has already amassed 54 Bundesliga appearances, including seven goals and 15 assists. Having only just turned 19, Havertz’s future is one of the brightest in Germany.

Alexander Isak, Borussia Dortmund

Age: 18
Position: Striker

Known as ‘The new Zlatan,’ expectations already weigh on Isak’s broad shoulders. With Dortmund since 2016 and developing himself at one of the best academies in the world, Isak’s future remains bright despite not yet bolting down a regular first-team spot. Thirteen apearances in all competitions have been rewarded with one DFB Cup goal, and his time to shine in the Bundesliga could be just around the corner.

Davor Lovren, Fortuna Düsseldorf

Age: 19
Position: Left wing

The teenage brother of Liverpool and Croatia defender Dejan Lovren, Davor is now making a name for himself. Nine years apart in age, and with a different place of birth – Davron was born in Munich; his brother in Zenica in the former Yugoslavia – the diferenced between the pair go further. Düsseldorf’s Lovren is a left-winger rather than a centre-back and joined the club from Dinamo Zagreb in 2017. One goal and two assists in 14 Bundesliga 2 appearances mean he and those around him are hoping for many more to come in his debut Bundesliga season.

Arne Maier, Hertha Berlin

Age: 19
Position: Centre midfielder

A Germany international through five different age groups already, Arne Maier looks bound for the top of German football in the near future. Last season was his major breakthrough on the Bundesliga stage, with 17 appearances in the middle of capital club Hertha Berlin’s midfield. A holding midfielder with assured control on possession and a deadly left foot from set-pieces and long balls, Maier will be a key for Hertha in 2018/19.

Weston McKennie, Schalke

Age: 19
Position: Centre midfielder

The USA international who scored on his USMNT debut. McKennie has made a similar fairy-tale start to life in the Bundesliga. After making his first appearance at the end of the 2016/17 season, McKennie played in a further 22 games last season. His never-say-die attitude in midfield, with unmatched stamina and determination, McKennie has become a fan-favourite at Schalke already.

Watch: Weston McKennie, Schalke's wonderkid!

Reece Oxford, Borussia Mönchengladbach

Age: 19
Position: Centre-back

English defender Reece Oxford earned his place on the Golden Boy nomination list after his time in the Bundesliga. He made eight appearances in the league during his season in Germany, on loan from English Premier League side West Ham United. Whether his future lies in England or Germany remains to be seen, but what’s certain is that his time in the Bundesliga has shaped him into the player he is today.

Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund

Age: 19
Position: Attacking midfielder

One of the biggest talents in world football, let alone prospects. Christian Pulisic is the United States’ new soccer superstar and he has turned himself into a household name already follwoing his time with Borussia Dortmund. At just 19, Pulisic has already made 70 appearances in the Bundesliga, with nine goals and 14 assists to boast. Pulisic has the versatility to play across the pitch behind a striker, with his pace, quick dribbling and agility the attributes that have made him one of the Bundesliga’s best players. Long may it continue!

Watch: Christian Pulisic is ready to star for Dortmund!

Panagiotis Retsos, Bayer Leverkusen

Age: 19
Position: Centre-back

One season in the Bundesliga has propelled Retsos to new heights as the centre-back, who can also play on either side of defence, has established himself with Bayer Leverkusen. The five-time Greek international played across the back-four in 2017/18 during his 24 Bundesliga appearances, even scoring against RB Leipzig. In a young, talented squad on the rise, Retsos looks set to keep improving in 2018/19 and beyond.

Idrissa Toure, Werder Bremen

Age: 20
Position: Centre midfielder

Despite not yet making his first-team debut with Werder Bremen, Idrissa’s Toure’s experience om Germany is already impressive. He has played for RB Leipzig, Schalke’s second team and Bremen’s second team. The versatile midfielder is expected to take steps into the Grun-Weißen first-team this season after impressing in the lower leagues of German football.

Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig

Age: 19
Position: Centre-back

Dayot Upamecano looks like the fiture of RB Leipzig's, and indeed France's, defence. A footballing monster, the 19-year-old has enormous pace and power for his size and build. Accomplished on the ball, Upamceano is also an initiator of Leipzig attacks from the back. His 40 Bundesliga appearances, of which 28 came in 2017/18, show how vital he has already become to RBL's team, and that looks unlikely to change.

Dayot Upamecano's beastly performances have seen him rise to become one of the Bundesliga's best defenders.
Dayot Upamecano's beastly performances have seen him rise to become one of the Bundesliga's best defenders. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Lukas Schulze/DFL via Getty Images

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