In Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus and Manuel Neuer, the Bundesliga has long since boasted some of the most recognisable names in world football. Yet every season there is a fresh influx of stars to wow the crowds.
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Tatsuya Ito (April)
Valentino Lazaro (March)
Benjamin Pavard (February)
Jadon Sancho (January)
Watch: Sancho, a worthy Rookie winner!
"With his incredible speed and his crafty ball tricks, he has already left some opponents dizzy. His acceleration is devastating" - Maximilian Philipp
A lot of clubs were green with envy when Borussia Dortmund snapped up up-and-coming English starlet Jadon Sancho last summer, convincing the teenager to swap Manchester City for the Ruhr Valley. The 18-year-old may not yet be the finished article, but the goal and four assists he contributed in his maiden season, including his maiden Bundesliga strike and teeing up two others in the Matchday 31 romp over Bayer Leverkusen, have left the Signal Iduna Park regulars drooling.
The BVB fans have been quickly won over by Sancho, while his teammates have been just as impressed. "With his incredible speed and his crafty ball tricks, he has already left some opponents dizzy," Maximilian Philipp said. "His acceleration is devastating."
The numbers Sancho puts up give more than a hint of the enormous potential the England U19 could unleash: involved in a goal every 137 minutes — Marco Reus ended the season at every 134 — his four assists were bettered only by Christian Pulisic (six) in the BVB squad. His average of 36 sprints per game were not only a Dortmund high, but helped tear open opposing defences in a similar way to his idol. "My favourite player and role model is Neymar," Sancho explained. "He plays at the highest possible tempo, turning opponents inside out. That makes his extremely dangerous in front of goal."
Amine Harit (December)
Fiete Arp (November)
Watch: Fiete Arp and a maiden season to remember
“At 18, Arp is already streaks ahead, but he still has massive potential to get even better” - Christian Titz
Fiete Arp carried the hopes of an entire club on his young shoulders in 2017/18. The 18-year-old was heralded as the one Hamburg player to stave off relegation – and for a while it looked like he might succeed. On 30 September, Arp became the first millennial to appear in the Bundesliga. A week later he became HSV’s youngest-ever goalscorer and the youngest of the season, aged 17 years, nine months and 22 days. After debuting against Werder Bremen and finding the net against Hertha Berlin, the Bundesliga Rookie of the Month winner for November struck again on Matchday 11 – this time on home soil, against VfB Stuttgart.
Arp’s emphatic induction only increased expectation levels.
“It’s unrealistic that I can save HSV on my own,” Arp said during the winter break. Indeed, the pressure took its toll for a kid, who also had his high-school exams to think about. Arp failed to score in his next 15 Bundesliga appearances, and watched on as Hamburg were relegated for the first time.
“Fiete’s development is completely normal. At 18, Arp is already streaks ahead, but he still has massive potential to get even better,” said HSV head coach Christian Titz. “It’s uncomfortable and difficult to deal with when you’re in a relegation battle and people start seeing you as the saviour.” Not that Arp’s qualities as a footballer have ever been in doubt. He only averaged 29 touches per game, but still managed a shot on goal every 49 minutes.