Germany youth international striker Jann-Fiete Arp (r.) is making waves in the Bundesliga with Hamburg. - © © imago / Michael Schwarz
Germany youth international striker Jann-Fiete Arp (r.) is making waves in the Bundesliga with Hamburg. - © © imago / Michael Schwarz

Hamburg's Jann-Fiete Arp set to come of age and prove he has brains to go with talent


When Hamburg jetted off to Jerez de la Frontera in southern Spain for their winter training camp at the start of January, it is safe to say that 17-year-old striker Jann-Fiete Arp had a few things in his suitcase that his teammates did not: school supplies.

Juggling his studies for his upcoming Abitur – the equivalent of A-levels or a high school diploma - with up to three training sessions a day while on the Iberian peninsula has proved challenging, but the Germany U-19 international is not complaining. "The exams will be difficult but I'm on the right track," he said. "I've still got four months to go and I want to pass."

He may take a break from cramming on Saturday, though, when he celebrates his 18th birthday. "Obviously I'm looking forward to it," the striker said. "Especially as I'll spend it here with all the guys. It could be worse."

Watch: Jann-Fiete Arp discusses life in the Bundesliga with Hamburg

After impressing for Germany at the UEFA European U-17 Championship last summer – where he became the only player ever to score two hat-tricks in one tournament at that level - Arp announced his arrival on the Bundesliga scene in style.

He became the first player born since the turn of the millennium to play in Germany's top flight when he made his debut in September, and even hit the net in his next two league outings in October to become the club's youngest-ever goalscorer.

Such is Arp's promise that he started six successive games for Hamburg, keeping more experienced strikers Bobby Wood and Andre Hahn out of the side. With his contract set to expire in 2019, HSV are naturally intent on extending his deal, especially now that the No.40 is one of the team's beacons of hope as they look to climb out of 17th place and avoid another relegation skirmish.

"We're all aware the second half of the season won't be easy," he said. "We need to build on everything that we've done well so far and improve on other things so that we can pick up points at the end of the day."

Watch: Arp became the first millennial to score in the Bundesliga on Matchday 10

So far, Hamburg only have 15 to show for their efforts, two adrift of safety. As disappointing as that return is, Arp was one of the few positives to emerge from the campaign to date. "He's got something others don't have," said club legend Manfred Kaltz. "He's very direct, he can hold the ball up, he can shoot, he's always dangerous and he's got a good eye. He's sharp. He's got that certain something."

Understandably, head coach Markus Gisdol is eager to protect his young protégé, and has urged USA international Wood to produce the goods: "I expect more from Bobby and need improved performances from him compared to the first half of the campaign."

Watch: Arp put in a match-winning display on his full Bundesliga debut

Arp himself is simply determined to keep getting better. "I think I'm still lacking a lot in order to play the way I'd like to," he said, citing "room for improvement" in all areas of his game, especially physically.

That particular aspect will undoubtedly come with time, but for now this year already looks to be shaping up nicely for Arp. Starting with Saturday.

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