RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano, Wolfsburg's Riechedly Bazoer and Mainz's Jean-Philippe Gbamin have been revealed as the candidates for the Bundesliga Rookie Award for March.
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All three of them have made waves at their new clubs in March, but which do you think has what it takes to be named as the months Bundesliga Rookie presented by TAGHeuer?
Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig
Signed in January from FC Salzburg, Upamecano has been eased into Bundesliga action, making a modest seven appearances, but on the occasions he has featured, the Frenchman has left a lasting impression. He was substituted on his first start in the home loss to Hamburg after a difficult first half, but he delivered emphatically the next time he was named in the starting XI, away at Bremen on 18 March. Leipzig actually lost the game 3-0, but coach Ralph Hasenhüttl could not have been happier with the summer recruit from FC Salzburg.
“Dayot was a ray of light for us [against Bremen]. Physically he’s a phenomenal specimen and I’m happy to have him.” Upamecano’s undoubted potential means he can look forward to far more game time, including – most likely – experience of the UEFA Champions League in the coming years.
Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Mainz
A combative, wiry presence in the Mainz midfield, Gbamin is one of the first names on coach Martin Schmidt’s teamsheet, having started 18 of 22 league matches this season since his arrival from Lens last summer. His tenacious style is a perfect fit for the Bundesliga, and says he feels right at home in “a very good league with high intensity”.
The 21-year-old’s competitive streak can sometimes get him into trouble – he has been sent off three times this term and will miss his team’s next match at home to Hertha Berlin. However, Schmidt will be happy to be able to call on such a willing, committed player in the coming weeks as he plots the club’s escape from the clutches of relegation.
Riechedly Bazoer, Wolfsburg
Bazoer, a winter signing from Dutch giants Ajax, helped the Wolves to two wins and a draw in March, and since the arrival of new coach Andries Jonker, he has become a regular in midfield.
Boasting a pass completion rate of 83 per cent and a willingness to get on the ball in tight situations, Jonker will also hope to be able to call upon the six-time Netherlands international as Wolfsburg look to steer clear of the drop zone in the season’s final weeks. As for Bazoer, the 20-year-old looks set to be a fixture in the Wolfsburg side for years to come.