Any team looking to get out of the second division and enjoy a sustained spell in the Bundesliga needs to be built on a solid defensive foundation. For Hannover, that man is Waldemar Anton.

Waldemar Anton

Age: 22
Position: Centre-back
Club: Hannover 96
Country: Germany

Key stats

Formerly of Hannover's U17 and U19s teams, Anton was just 19 when he made his Bundesliga debut in a win over VfB Stuttgart in February 2016. He scored his first senior goal two months later to in a 2-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach, but it was too late to prevent the Reds from falling through the trap door. With eight Bundesliga outings under his belt, the 6'2" Uzbekistan-born defender turned out 31 times in Bundesliga 2 as the Reds made an immediate return to Germany's top flight and has been a virtual ever-present since. In 2017/18, he won 62.9 per cent of 170 contested aerial challenges and hit the money with 80.1 per cent of his attempted passes.

Plays a bit like: Javi Martinez

A no-nonsense defender capable of playing at the heart of or in front of the defence, Anton could quite easily be Bayern Munich battering ram Javi Martinez in disguise. He's robust, uncompromising, a real aerial presence - and can pick out a pass.

Did you know?

Having grown up idolising former Bayern forward Roy Makaay, Anton started life out as a striker, before dabbling in midfield and eventually being refashioned as a central defender. No wonder he's so handy in the opposition box...

"It'll take more than a hand to the face to shake me off!" Waldemar Anton (r.) is an unshakeable figure in the Hannover defence. © gettyimages / Martin Rose

What they're saying

"The way he's been playing, with his qualities - he has to be a candidate for the national team." - former Germany international Per Metesacker

"He can play at the back, as a No.6 and he's scored goals. He's a frightening prospect." - Hannover general manager Horst Heldt

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