Leverkusen's teenage prodigy Kai Havertz (c.) had only ever played for Germany up to U19 level until recently. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Leverkusen's teenage prodigy Kai Havertz (c.) had only ever played for Germany up to U19 level until recently. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Nico Schulz, Kai Havertz & Thilo Kehrer: Germany's newly capped trio

There were three new faces in the Germany squad in the September friendly win over Peru.

Nico Schulz started the game and scored the winner, while their were second-half cameos from fellow new boys Kai Havertz and Thilo Kehrer. bundesliga.com takes a closer look at what the trio bring to the Nationalmannschaft.

Nico Schulz

Age: 25
Club: Hoffenheim
Position: Left wing-back/left midfielder
Prior international experience: Germany U21 (14 caps, 2 goals)

Spot the odd one out? Yes, Schulz is in his mid-20s — almost middle-aged for a footballer — but make no mistake, the Hoffenheim man was just as precocious as his fellow newboys.

Picked out of the crowd by a host of European heavyweights as a youngster at Hertha Berlin, Schulz's progress was significantly slowed by a cruciate ligament injury that laid waste to his 2015/16 season. That came just after what should have been a career-accelerating transfer to Borussia Mönchengladbach and the last of his 14 Under-21 caps, delaying what seemed an inevitable step up into the senior side until now.

Either a left-back who likes to get forward — as he has started this season — or as he played for much of last season a left-midfielder who knows how to defend, Schulz gives Löw reliability and security down what has been a problematic flank, notably as a replacement for Jonas Hector, who was the only left-back-by-trade in the squad until he was forced to withdraw through injury.

"I didn't want to pile so much responsibility on him that he would be taking the whole family to England," Schulz's mother, Birgit, said after her 15-year-old son had rejected an offer from Liverpool. No need to worry now Mrs. Schulz: your son is ready to carry the weight of expectation of his country.

- © gettyimages / Christof Stache

Kai Havertz

Age: 19
Club: Leverkusen
Position: Attacking midfielder
Prior international experience: Germany U19 (8 caps, 7 goals)

Scan down the list of the Germany squad that won the Under-21 EURO in Poland just over a year ago. What? Didn't find Kai Havertz's name there? Look again…and you still won't. Why? Because he wasn't in that squad. In fact, the youngster, who only turned 19 in June, has never represented his country at a higher level than his current age. Still, with more than 50 Bundesliga games already under his belt and after being named the country's best U19 player, it is no surprise Germany boss Joachim Löw has decided Leverkusen's youngest-ever debutant is ready to jump the queue.

Watch: EVERY Kai Havertz Bundesliga goal and assist to date!

The Aachen-born teenager who put the 'P' in 'prodigy' has a game which bears more than a passing resemblance to another Leverkusen icon and former Germany midfielder, Michael Ballack: not afraid to go in where it hurts at either end of the pitch. A shade more attack-minded than Bayern Munich's Leon Goretzka, Havertz is — according to his club boss, Heiko Herrlich — "the biggest talent I have seen since Toni Kroos." Wow!

If that impresses you, then you should sit down now as his stats back up the promise of his prodigious ability: 96 per cent pass completion this season, 68 per cent of challenges won, seven goals and 15 assists in just 39 league starts at the start of what should be an immense career. "I already thought before the World Cup that such a player would be able to help and learn with the national team," said Herrlich. "But I think the national team coach knows exactly what he has to do and who he has to pick." He certainly does, Heiko, and it's Kai Havertz.

Thilo Kehrer

Age: 21
Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Position: Centre-back/defensive midfield/full-back
Prior international experience: Germany U21 (9 caps)

"He's fast, able to play in all four positions in defence, he's two-footed and can even play defensive midfield…he's a player every coach would like to have!" So said Thomas Tuchel when the ex-Mainz and Borussia Dortmund coach was asked about the summer addition to his Paris Saint-Germain squad.

High praise, but nothing new for Kehrer, who has been billed as one of German football's hottest properties for years since first showing his beyond-the-norm abilities at Stuttgart as a 12-year-old. Three years later he moved to Schalke, a year after that and he was wearing the Under-19 side's captain's armband. Aged 16. You think the step up to the national team is going to faze him? No, us neither.