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Timo Werner: Germany’s young wildcard in FIFA Confederations Cup 2017

Timo Werner is one of several young guns Germany manager Joachim Loew has taken to Russia for the FIFA Confederations Cup. The tournament is the perfect chance for the youngster to prove he can fill a notable void in the squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

football Updated: Jun 13, 2017 20:01 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Germany national football team,Timo Werner,FIFA Confederations Cup
Timo Werner has impressed for RB Leipzig this season, and will look to carry on the good form and cement himself as a regular in the Germany squad a year before the FIFA World Cup. (AFP)

The German football system is well known for scouting and nurturing young talent and one such player who has made his mark this season is 21-year-old striker Timo Werner, primed to appear in the Confederations Cup in Russia for the world champions.

The charismatic striker started his professional career with VFB Stuttgart aged 18 and it was just a matter of time before he established himself as a first-team player. Werner’s speed and vision made him an asset to the team, and although he played a majority of his first two seasons as a winger, his talent caught the eye of football experts.

When Stuttgart were relegated at the end of the 2015-16 season, Werner decided to leave his hometown side and became the club record signing for newly promoted RB Leipzig. It was the perfect move for the youngster as he was given the centre forward’s position, and in manager Ralph Hasenhüttl he found a great mentor who taught him the tricks of the trade.

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Werner had a relatively slow start to the season but his confidence grew with time and it was his brilliant goal-scoring record that took RB Leipzig to amazing heights. With 21 goals from 31 matches, he finished as the fourth highest scorer in the Bundesliga, and although his team missed out on the title by quite a margin, it was a huge achievement for a newly promoted team with no top-tier experience.

Werner was also quite prolific in the German youth set-up from a young age with 30 goals in 38 appearances for the German U-15, U-16, U-17, and U-19 sides combined. He played a bit for the U-23 team, and in March 2017, made his senior debut in a friendly against England.

Germany has struggled to find a true striker in the last few years and that was evident in Euro 2016 where they had to opt for a false No 9 formation with Julian Draxler acting as the front man. The team did have the seasoned Mario Gomez who scored two goals, but the 31-year old is not as fast as he used to be.

Since then, Joachim Loew has tried a variety of strikers like Max Kruse and Sandro Wagner in the centre forward’s role, but the position is still up for grabs. That is why the Confederations Cup can be the perfect opportunity for Werner to stake his claim.

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Werner had an impressive Bundesliga season and with national team manager Joachim Loew going for a young squad, he was one of the perfect choices for the striker’s position. The absence of big names will mean more chance for Werner to shine and that is exactly what he needs. His speed (with and without the ball) will be a great addition to Germany’s aggressive brand of football and if he can shine in Russia, there is a good chance he will be the main striker for his country when they go back to Russia for the FIFA World Cup 2018.

First Published: Jun 13, 2017 19:55 IST