One to Watch: Julian Draxler

Posted on June 11, 2011

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German national coach Joachim ‘Jogi’ Löw has been spoiled for choice with the abundance of young talent coming through in the Bundesliga. In particular, Löw has a wealth of options in attacking midfield positions with the Germans needing to accommodate three in their 4-2-3-1 system.

The three currently in possession of the starting positions are FC Köln’s Lukas Podolski, FC Bayern’s Thomas Müller and Real Madrid’s Mesut Özil.

However, there are some very talented stars who will struggle to squeeze their way in to the International setup due to the quality Löw has at his disposal.

This season has saw the emergence of Borussia Dortmund’s teenage sensation Mario Götze who was outstanding in BvB’s title-winning campaign under Jurgen Klopp. Götze has even attracted the interest of Manchester United and Arsenal and will grace our TV screens next season on the biggest platform in club football – the UEFA champions League.

Other players who have starred this season, like Götze, in the Bundesliga include Sebastian Rudy, Kevin Großkreutz, Marco Reus, Marko Marin, Toni Kroos and add to that, the likes of Piotr Trochowski and Bastian Schweinsteiger who have over 100 caps between them.

At surprise-package Mainz, we have seen Andre Schürrle and Lewis Holtby excel under Thomas Tuchel. Mainz have qualified for the UEFA Europa League next season but will need to do without their attacking stars with Schürrle moving to Bayer Leverkusen and Holtby returning to Schalke.

Holtby will join up with another teenage wonderkid from Schalke who has already began to make a name for himself in his debut season with the first-team.

After this stunning winning goal in the DFB Pokal clash with FC Nürnberg, Draxler stole the headlines in a pulsating match which the Royal Blues won 3-2 after extra time.

The DFB Pokal – Germany’s version of the FA Cup – would prove Schalke’s only domestic positive from the season following a poor campaign which saw Felix Magath lose his job in March. Ralf Rangnick’s side went on to win the competition last month, beating MSV Duisburg in the final.

And Draxler added to his thriving reputation with a star performance which started with Schalke’s opening goal in the thumping 5-0 win over Duisburg.

National team coach ‘Jogi’ Löw was impressed with Draxler following his impact in the final and is excited about the teenager’s future.

He said: “He has attracted our attention in the last six months. He is a great talent and has a good opportunity to impress with Schalke,

“He is a player who plays with a cheeky and carefree style. We are excited about him.”

17-year-old Draxler also made a surprise start at Old Trafford in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Manchester United.

The classy youngster has combined his studying with football this season and Schalke were the target of complaints as Draxler was “working” past 8pm which breaches Article 14 and the youth worker employment law.

Schalke will be involved in the Europa League next season after winning the DFB Pokal and head coach Ralf Rangnick begins his first full season in Gelsenkirchen. He will need to do that, however, without the services of Manuel Neuer who moved to FC Bayern for 18 million euros.

On a more positive note, Draxler will be involved with Schalke’s new signing Christian Fuchs who joins from Mainz for 3.5m. Fuchs had an impressive campaign at Mainz and links up with former team-mate Lewis Holtby.

With Raul producing the goods, Lewis Holtby returning, Fuchs joining and young Draxler starring for the Royal blues, there is much to look forward to at the Veltins Arena next season.

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Posted in: Feature