Cologne - Eight Matchdays down, 26 to go. The 53rd Bundesliga season is in full swing and already a different picture is being painted to the previous campaign. Accordingly, bundesliga.com is focussing on the issues providing the brushstrokes at this early stage of the season.
Kingsley Coman (19), FC Bayern München
"He's already amazingly mature and he plays with a lot of confidence." The words are Coman's in praise of Bayern team-mate David Alaba, but the Paris-born teenager's statement could just as easily have been used to describe himself. The 19-year-old arrived on a two-year loan from Juventus in the summer, and immediately showed why Paris Saint-Germain were unhappy he had opted not to sign his first professional deal with them, opting for Italy instead. Two goals and an assist in four Bundesliga appearances have added weight to Coman's bold claim - made before the media upon signing for the Bundesliga champions - that he is "a player who makes the difference."
Julian Weigl (20), Borussia Dortmund
Despite competing with the likes of Gonzalo Castro, Ilkay Gündogan, Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender – a midfield posse with 753 Bundesliga appearances between them – it is Weigl whom Thomas Tuchel has entrusted to be Dortmund's midfield anchor this term. Almost relegated to the third tier with TSV 1860 Munich back in May, Weigl helped BVB to five straight wins at the start of the season, starting every league game this season. "He's progressing, and you can see that every day," says his coach. "That's why we're playing him so often."
Leroy Sane (19), FC Schalke 04
Sane announced himself as a potential star last season when he scored a screamer in a 4-3 win at Real Madrid CF in the UEFA Champions League. This term, the 19-year-old is now making the difference for Schalke on a more consistent basis, having scored three goals and made another in the Royal Blues' eight games, a higher return than his more experienced peers, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Franco Di Santo. More importantly, though, all three of those strikes were winning efforts that came in consecutive matches, helping Andre Breitenreiter's side rise to third in the table.
Yannick Gerhardt (21), 1. FC Köln
In contrast to the goal-shy 1. FC Köln of last season, the current Billy Goats crop have reinvented themselves as an attacking force to be reckoned with in 2015/16, scoring 13 goals (as opposed to six this time last season) and climbing to fifth in the table. Gerhardt has played a large part in Köln's more expansive approach, and he saved his best performance until just before the international break, scoring a delightful goal in a brilliant 3-0 win away at FC Schalke 04 on Matchday 8.
Andreas Christensen (19), Borussia Mönchengladbach
It cannot have been easy to come into a side that had just set an unwanted club record of four straight defeats to start the season, but Christensen did so on Matchday 5. Though regional rivals Köln got the better of the 19-year-old Denmark international that day, Christensen has since helped provide the platform for Gladbach to claw their way off the bottom of the table with three straight wins under interim coach Andre Schubert. Classy and calm beyond his years, the centre-back, who is on a two-year loan from Chelsea, has perfectly filled the gap opened by Martin Stranzl's injury.