Bundesliga defenders have had to learn the hard way that there is no stopping Timo Werner (l.) in full-flight mode. - © © imago / ActionPictures
Bundesliga defenders have had to learn the hard way that there is no stopping Timo Werner (l.) in full-flight mode. - © © imago / ActionPictures
Bundesliga

Timo Werner: 10 things on the jet-heeled RB Leipzig and Germany striker gunning for the FIFA 2018 World Cup Golden Boot

You can rig yourself with a jetpack, dust off your rocket boots or man the cockpit of a Virgin supersonic passenger jet: you still ain't catching RB Leipzig and Germany striker Timo Werner.

1) Stuttgart starting blocks

The 22-year-old recently made history as the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 150 top-flight appearances - a feat in keeping with a turbo-charged career in the fast lane…

Before he was tearing it up at Leipzig, Werner was making waves with boyhood club VfB Stuttgart. After joining Die Schwaben aged six, he wrote his name into Cannstadt folklore as the club's youngest ever debutant and goalscorer. He later became the Bundesliga's youngest player to score a brace and reach 50 appearances – all before the age of 19.

Watch: The Timo Werner story

2) My Mama said to go to school

Werner wasn't just dedicated to his football, either. He even finished school - how many young pros can say they've done that? Let alone passed their final exams!

"I could have focused solely on football, but my mother really wanted me to finish school. I never considered not doing it to be honest. That wouldn't have been smart. In hindsight I'm quite proud that I managed to finish school and kick on with my professional football career."

3) Destined for great things

His school days behind him, Werner won the Fritz Walter gold medal in 2013 – an annual award given by the German Football Association to outstanding young players - in the Under-17 category. He was awarded the silver medal behind Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah in the U-19 bracket two years later.

- © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Koepsel

6) The new Miroslav Klose

Werner's exponential goal-scoring abilities soon caught the eye of Germany head coach Joachim Löw, who handed the Leipzig No.11 his first senior cap in a friendly win over England in March 2017. After joint-top scoring at the Confederations Cup later that summer, it became clear that the world champions had finally found the heir to retired record marksman Miroslav Klose.

7) A Super Mario fan

Werner grew up watching Klose, but Stuttgart's Mario Gomez - one of a handful of prolific goalscorers he now keeps out of the international team - was his true muse.

"When I was 11, 12, I used to have posters of Mario on my wall," Werner admitted. "Suddenly, there I was with Mario giving me high-fives and wishing me good luck on playing for Germany instead of him."

8) Next stop, Russia

Gomez himself his a massive fan. "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."

9) Stretching every sinew for success

As well as Gomez, Werner attributes much of his success to his father, a former winger for 07 Ludwigsburg and Stuttgarter Kickers.

"When I was little, my Dad would pass me the ball and I would take shots at goal," recalled Werner. "First he would play it to my right foot, and we'd work on my technique with that, and then to my left. We even ran up mountains together. I learnt quickly that if you want to become a professional, you have to do more."

10) Turbo Timo by name, Turbo Timo by nature

Work hard, run harder. Due to his eye-watering pace, Werner has been aptly branded 'Turbo Timo' by the German media.

''There's no recipe for it,'' Werner said of his eye-watering speed - he's been clocked at 11.11 seconds over 100 meters. ''The quickest players just know how to do it automatically. I like to knock the ball three or four meters ahead of me when I'm on the counter or have space in front of me, that way I can increase the distance between a defender and myself.''

Click here for more RB Leipzig news, views and features!