One to Watch: Moritz Leitner

Posted on June 13, 2011

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FC Augsburg secured promotion to the Bundesliga on the second last week of the season after amassing a fantastic 65 points from 34 matches in Bundesliga.2.

They will join Hertha Berlin in the top-flight next year after edging clear of VfL Bochum on goal difference who eventually lost to Borussia Mönchengladbach in the promotion/relegation play-offs.

The race of the second promotion spot in the second-tier was hotting towards the end with FC Erzgebirge Aue, Greuther Furth, Bochum and Augsburg chasing the prestige of being in the Bundesliga next season. FCA sealed their passage to the top-flight with a 2-1 home victory over FSV Frankfurt in May.

A key part to Augsburg success in the second half of the season was 18-year-old midfielder Moritz Leitner who joined in January on loan from eventual Bundesliga winners Borussia Dortmund.

Leitner’s season, however, had kicked off with 1860 München in the same division and his impressive start to the season with Die Löwen attracted the interest of Bundesliga table-toppers Dortmund who were flying in the first half of the season under Jurgen Klopp.

The young midfielder made seven starts at 1860 and had another nine appearances from the substitutes bench before completing a €600k move to Signal Iduna Park at the end of December.

Leitner was quickly shipped out of the Westfalen and joined FC Augsburg on loan until the end of the season with the second division club just a point off the top of the table going in to the winter shutdown.

The München-born German U19 international played a decent part in the second part of the campaign and racked up nine appearances for the Bavarians and helping them secure promotion to the Bundesliga.

He has become a regular for the German U19s who narrowly lost out on a place at the U19 European Championships following a defeat to Turkey in Kundu. Before the disappointing defeat, he had netted in Germany’s last two matches, scoring once in a 3-0 win over Hungary and a hat-trick against Macedonia just a few days later.

Leitner is naturally an attacking midfielder, but can play on the flanks, and is keen on adding goals to his game, as well, as creating goals as he did for 1860 and Augsburg with four assists in total last season – two with each club.

Klopp is spoiled for choice in midfield-attacking positions next season with Die Borussen adding Croatian attacker Ivan Perisic to the squad in the summer. Dortmund have also added Chris Löwe, Ilkay Gundogan and Dimitar Rangelov this summer, and all three can play in midfield.

The youngster may struggle to break in to Dortmund’s gifted first-team but will certainly play a crucial part in Germany under 19s’ qualifying campaign which starts in October.

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Posted in: Feature