Timo Werner: a season of bossing the big occasions
Germany striker Timo Werner built on his spectacular debut season with RB Leipzig in 2017/18, showing that his blistering pace, ice-cool finishing and taste for the big stage will make him one of Die Mannschaft's biggest weapons as they embark on their FIFA World Cup defence in Russia next month.
Season in a nutshell
Having helped himself to 21 goals in Leipzig's stunning maiden Bundesliga campaign, Werner picked up exactly where he left off in 2017/18. A brace in the 4-1 win over Freiburg and further strikes against Hamburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Eintracht Frankfurt pushed him up to five goals in his first six outings. The 22-year-old showed his talent internationally, too, scoring both for Germany in World Cup qualifiers and Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League.
Watch: Timo Werner, one of the Bundesliga's best
With injuries and illness' disrupting his progression at the start of 2018, Werner snapped a seven-game scoring drought against none other than Bayern Munich at the Red Bull Arena. It was Leipzig's first-ever over the champions, and pushed him on to end his season in style.
As Leipzig's Europa League campaign came to a stop at the quarter-final stage - after some big performances from Werner against Napoli- the Stuttgart-born striker switched his focus to helping RBL qualify for Europe through the Bundesliga. Two goals and three assists in his final three games helped him round out another memorable season, in which he became the youngest player to reach 150 Bundesliga appearances. An impressive 21 goals in all competitions and seven in 12 outings for Germany means the jet-heeled striker looks primed to take Russia by storm this summer.
What they're saying
"With him, Germany can win the World Cup. He's a strong finisher, very fast, can get in behind defences and create space in deep-lying positions. Timo Werner is just very, very good. You have to ask yourself, what happened to the boy in Leipzig? He was pretty good in Stuttgart, but not a complete scorer – how he's developed at Leipzig is sensational." – Former Germany and Schalke star Gerald Asamoah.
"I'm happy we're on the same team because he's difficult for opposition players to stop. With his pace, exceptional technique and finishing, he's a class act. He definitely has the potential to become one of the best strikers in the world." – Leipzig teammate Dayot Upamecano.
"Timo's going to boss the Germany attack for the next 10 years. He's a great guy, he always gives 120 per cent. He's an incredible talent, and I'm delighted to see him doing so well, even if he's ahead of me in the pecking order. He deserves it. We need an on-form Timo, if Germany are going to defend their World Cup title in Russia." – Fellow Germany striker Mario Gomez.
Watch: Werner on going from Gomez's biggest fan to his Germany replacement
The World Cup, of course! Barring any last-minute injuries, Werner is essentially guaranteed to be a part of Löw's 23-man squad, and he will have the sizeable task of replacing Germany's record goal-getter Miroslav Klose (71), who also tops the all-time World Cup finals scoring charts (16). Prior to his appointment as Bayern's new U17s coach, Klose has been working with the Germany team, and he is expected to be in Russia this summer to give his young successor some invaluable tips on succeeding on the biggest stage of them all.