Two tournaments played; two won – so reads Germany’s record during the last month of international football. How and why are the defending World Champions so dominant? The blooding of youth in the Bundesliga has been a cornerstone of Die Nationalmannschaft’s recent success...
Four players across the two squads in Poland and Russia – Timo Werner, Niklas Süle, Max Meyer and Max Arnold - had reached a century of Bundesliga appearances whilst still being eligible for Under-21 football. bundesliga.com takes a closer look at each.
Club: RB Leipzig
Date of birth: 6 March 1996
Bundesliga appearances: 126
If the 21-year-old's name wasn't already known in footballing circles prior to the Confederations Cup 2017, it most certainly is now. The Leipzig forward scored three and provided two assists – including setting up the winner for Lars Stindl in the final – to earn the adidas Golden Boot at the tournament, to go along with his winner's medal. Now already tipped to be a key part of Germany's World Cup squad next year, it is no surprise his club coach Ralph Hasenhüttl recently called him "the hottest property in German football".
Watch: Werner's top five goals in 2016/17
That is no mere hubris. Werner was the top-scoring German in the Bundesliga last season with 21 goals, making him only the third player under 22 in Bundesliga history to reach that tally in a single campaign (after Bayern Munich legend Gerd Müller, who hit 28 goals for Bayern Munich in 1966/67, and namesake Dieter Müller, who got 24 for Cologne in 1974/75).
His finishing ability tells only part of the story, however. Last term the striker reached a top speed of 34.9 km/h (21.7 mph), and his average of 33 sprints per game was among the highest in the league. Clinical, quick and hard working – should we really be surprised he is the youngest player ever to enter the Bundesliga's 100 club?
Club: Bayern Munich
Date of birth: 3 September 1995
Bundesliga appearances: 108
If you have made over 100 Bundesliga matches, won a major title with the senior Germany side and signed for Bayern Munich all before your 22nd birthday then clearly you are doing something right. Read that again: Bayern. Germany. Over 100 appearances. Aged 21.
Süle had an astonishing season with Hoffenheim in 2016/17 and seamlessly carried that form into the Confederations Cup, featuring in four of Germany's five games to help them lift the trophy for the first time ever.
Watch: Süle, the prototype centre-back
Make no mistake, he is the real deal. Süle only committed 16 fouls in 33 Bundesliga games last season, completed 89 per cent of his passes – a return on a par with leading midfielders Julian Weigl and Thiago – while only Thiago and Diego Demme and had more touches of the ball than Süle's 2,672 last term.
That ability combined with his impressive physical prowess, a 1.95 metre frame and a top speed just 0.1 km/h slower than Werner (34.8 km/h), make the former striker an intimidating presence. Keen Bundesliga observers have been aware of him for a while, since he made his top-flight debut in May 2013 at the age of 17 years, eight months and eight days to become Hoffenheim’s youngest ever player.
Position: Attacking midfielder
Date of birth: 18 September 1995
Bundesliga appearances: 122
Meyer's dribbling ability and diminutive stature – he stands at just 1.73 metres – led to early comparisons with Mario Götze and even Lionel Messi, with that initial promise recognised by him winning the Fritz Walter silver medal in 2012 and 2014 as one of Germany's outstanding young talents.
The Schalke midfielder underlined that reputation at the UEFA U-21 European Championship in Poland in June. He started all five of Germany's games en route to the title, with his elusive movement, dribbling ability and directness ultimately earning a place in the official Team of the Tournament.
Fans of the Royal Blues have grown accustomed to seeing those attributes on a weekly basis in recent years. Furthermore, the 21-year-old, who has four full international caps for Germany, completed 86 per cent of his passes inside the final third last season and is key to building Schalke's attacks whilst others run off him.
Position: Central midfielder
Date of birth: 27 May 1994
Bundesliga appearances: 126
Like Meyer, Arnold was named in the UEFA U-21 Team of the Tournament following a series of commanding displays in central midfield. The Germany captain started every game, grabbed two assists and confidently converted his penalty in the semi-final shoot-out against England.
Watch: Relive Arnold's thunderbolt against Hoffenheim on Matchday 20 in 2016/17
Already a mainstay in the Wolfsburg team – he started the first 11 games under head coach Andries Jonker - he is set to take more responsibility following the departure of Luiz Gustavo this summer.
As a link between defence and attack he has become incredibly diligent, covering an average of 11.6 km per game last season. And he is also a man for important goals: when Arnold has found the net he has either won or levelled games 16 times – invariably with his thunderous left-footed shot.