One to watch: Julian Brandt, Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen will enjoy Champions League football again this season. Their impressive form at the turn of the year, including a six game winning streak, ensured a third place finish and automatic entry into the group stages of Europe’s elite competition.

A major factor in that achievement was 20-year-old winger Julian Brandt, scoring in six straight games coinciding with Leverkusens impressive winning streak, resulting in fans across Germany calling for Brandt to be named in Joachim Löw’s Germany squad for this years European championship. Brandt finished the season with nine goals and three assists for the season but never made Löw’s final squad.

Born in Bremen, Brandt started his footballing education with SC Borgfeld and FC Oberneuland before signing as a youth player for VfL Wolfsburg. After two years at Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen came knocking and in 2014 he made his debut. His talents were clear as a teenager, sporting director, Rudi Völler classes Brandt as “one of the most talented players in German football.”

Brandt has the ability to live up to Völler’s words. He’s quick, has excellent technique and is stronger than his frame suggests, but his attitude is what stands out the most. His maturity for a player of his age is admirable, which will be a resulting factor in his development as a player.

Leverkusen will do well to hang on to their young winger beyond this season, with his reputation rising, his name is already on the lips of clubs across Europe. This season however, could well be the season he announces himself to the footballing world as a future German star. With Javier Hernandez’s impressive goal return last season and the addition of Kevin Volland, many are backing Leverkusen to have a successful campaign.

Should that be the case, you can be sure Julian Brandt will be at the heart of it.

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