Mario Götze is the pride of Borussia Dortmund’s youth movement. But the 19-year-old attacking midfielder is also one of the brightest stars of Germany’s 1992 born age group which includes a number of other gems, including others that are making in-roads into the Bundesliga.
The magical maestro Götze played a huge role in Dortmund running away with the Bundesliga title last season on a team which included a number of other under-23 players including Kevin Großkreutz, Marcel Schmelzer, Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic, Sven Bender, Shinji Kawaga and Robert Lewandowski.
But Götze is also a European champion – at the Under-17 level as the 1992 age group of Germans beat the Netherlands 2-1 in extra time in the U17 European Championship final in Magdeburg, Germany.
And a group of players from that team are already starting to make their presence felt in the Bundesliga.
Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has already earned the starting job between the posts at Borussia Mönchengladbach, unseating Belgian international Logan Bailly last season.
ter Stegen finished third in the voting for the Fritz Walter Medal for the top youth player at the U17 level in 2009, which was won by Götze.
This season ter Stegen will be playing alongside former U17 teammate Matthias Zimmermann, who transferred from Karlsruhe and will make his Bundesliga debut this season. Zimmermann finished third in the Fritz Walter Medal voting in 2010 for the U18 level, which was also won by Götze.
Reinhold Yabo of Cologne finished second to Götze in voting for the Fritz Walter Medal as the top youth player at the U17 level in 2009 and U18 level in 2010.
The midfielder earned five Bundesliga appearances last season, even starting against Wolfsburg in April 2011. But the club sent Yab on loan to second division Alemannia Aachen to get some more playing experience.
Defender Marvin Plattenhardt made his Bundesliga debut in December 2010 with Nuremberg and has since earned eight appearances in the league as well as 30 games with the team’s second amateur side.
Midfielder Manuel Janzer has been in the Stuttgart youth ranks since 2004 and finally made his debut with Stutgart’s third division team in April 2011 and scored a goal.
Striker Kevin Scheidhauer has been in Wolfsburg’s system since 2008 and played 11 times in the Regionalliga Nord amateur league but he was given a professional contract with Wolfsburg for this season though he will probably play most for the club’s amateur side.
Fellow defender Bienvenue Basala-Mazana went through the Cologne youth ranks, playing 21 games for the U23 team in the third division. In June 2011, Basala-Mazana was sent on loan for one season to Austrian Cup winners SV Ried, who are playing in the third qualification round of the Europa League.
And the talent level of the 1992 group has not gone unnoticed outside of Germany as some of the age group have already been signed to clubs abroad.
Defender Shkodran Mustafi came up through the Hamburg system but after the tournament was signed on a three-year deal with English side Everton. And although Mustafi has yet to play in the Premiership, he made his professional debut in December 2009 in the final group match of the Europa League as the team had already advanced to the next stage.
Werder Bremen have a pair of young stars from the 1992 generation in striker Lennart Thy and midfielder Florian Trinks.
Trinks appeared in eight Bundesliga matches last season for the Green-Whites and even starting one game against Bayer Leverkusen and coming up with an assist.
Thy was the top scorer at the U17 European Championship in 2009 and last season he was subbed in twice in the first half of the Bundesliga campaign. He also came in as a reserve in the Champions League against Tottenham Hotspur.
Thy could have an impact this season with Werder’s senior team as he has impressed Bremen brass at pre-season training camp.
“It’s not only about who has played 100 Bundesliga matches but who works in training. And I am very happy with what he has shown in the preparations,” said Werder head coach Thomas Schaaf about Thy.
“He has qualities which can help the team. He can hold balls up front, wins balls and has a solid scoring rate.”
Bremen manager Klaus Allofs is looking forward to how the duo of Thy and Trinks do this season.
“They have never been in this situation before, without the worries of schooling and being able to concentrate on professional football. They are after all among the best players from their age group,” said Allofs.
And with a group of emerging talents like that, that is saying quite a bit.