Cologne’s Yann Aurel Bisseck became only the second 16-year-old ever to appear in the Bundesliga on Matchday 13 of the 2017/18 season, but who else features in the list of youngest ever German top-flight debutants? bundesliga.com reveals all…
1) Nuri Sahin (Borussia Dortmund) – 16 years, 335 days
The first ever player to feature in a Bundesliga game before this 17th birthday, Sahin has enjoyed quite the career since making his Dortmund bow on the opening day of the 2005/06 season. After inspiring BVB to a first league title in nine years in 2010/11, the former Turkey midfielder endured 12 injury-hit months at Real Madrid before joining Liverpool on loan for the first half of the 2012/13 season. Sahin jumped at the chance of rejoining Borussia in January 2013, and despite suffering serious groin and knee injuries since his return to the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK, the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history has gone on to make over 260 appearances in all competitions for Die Schwarz-Gelben.
Watch: Sahin reacts to Dortmund’s 4-4 draw with Schalke on Matchday 13
2) Yann Aurel Bisseck (Cologne) – 16 years, 362 days
The centre-back started on the right side of the Billy Goats’ back three against Hertha Berlin on Matchday 13, and didn’t look out of place despite failing to prevent Vedad Ibisevic from firing the Old Lady to a 2-0 victory at the RheinEnergieSTADION. A regular for Cologne’s Under-19’s this season, the Germany youth international is less than half the age of his 39-year-old team-mate Claudio Pizarro, who had already played one full season for Werder Bremen when Bisseck was born on 29 November 2000.
3) Jürgen Friedl (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 17 years, 26 days
Over 40 years after he was handed his Bundesliga bow in March 1976, Friedl remains the youngest goalkeeper ever to appear in Germany’s top flight. Affectionately known as ‘Fuzzy’ by team-mates and fans alike, Frankfurt-born Friedl failed to establish himself in the Eintracht first team during his four years at the Waldstadion, making just two more Bundesliga appearances for the club before going on to enjoy a successful career in the lower leagues with SSV Heilsberg and FV Bad Vilbel.
4) Ibrahim Tanko (Borussia Dortmund) – 17 years, 61 days
Tanko clocked up 14 league appearances during Borussia’s title-winning campaign in 1994/95, but injuries and misfortune curtailed the Ghanaian forward’s career at the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK. After making just 38 Bundesliga outings over the course of the following five seasons, he was offered a chance to resurrect his career at Freiburg, for whom he netted eight goals in 122 league appearances. Since hanging up his boots in 2005, Tanko has enjoyed brief stints as assistant coach at the Schwarzwald-Stadion (2007/08) and with Cologne (2011/12).
5) Marc Stendera (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 17 years, 117 days
Eintracht youth academy product Stendera was handed his first taste of Bundesliga action against Bayern Munich in April 2013. Two cruciate knee ligament injuries in the space of three seasons threatened to derail the central midfielder’s career, but Stendera appears to be enjoying a new lease of life under Niko Kovac this term. “After my injuries I didn’t believe I was still capable of playing at the highest level,” he told Frankfurter Neue Presse recently. “I had to work hard every week to return to the team. That’s why it’s always an extremely nice feeling to be out on the pitch.”
6) Julian Draxler (Schalke) – 17 years, 117 days
One of the greatest talents to emerge from Schalke‘s fabled Knappenschmiede academy, Draxler was exactly the same age as Stendera when then Royal Blues coach Felix Magath gave the fresh-faced winger his Bundesliga debut in January 2011. It proved to be a memorable campaign for Gladbeck-born Draxler, who not only became the club’s youngest ever scorer but also registered a goal and an assist in a 5-0 DFB Cup final victory over Duisburg. His stellar performances for Die Knappen earned the 2014 FIFA World Cup winner a move to 2014/15 Bundesliga runners-up Wolfsburg in August 2015, before he was snapped up by French giants Paris Saint-Germain just 15 months later.
7) Christian Wörns (Waldhof Mannheim) – 17 years, 122 days
Best known for his spells with Bayer Leverkusen (1991-1998) and Dortmund (1999-2008), Wörns made his Bundesliga debut for Mannheim in September 1989, but was unable to prevent the club from slipping into Bundesliga 2 after seven successive seasons in the top flight. It wasn’t long before the young defender was packing his bags for Leverkusen, whom he helped win the DFB Pokal in 1992/93. He joined Paris Saint-Germain in 1998 after making 250 appearances for Die Werkself, but moved to Borussia after just a single season in the French capital. The former Germany international helped BVB secure a first league title in five years in 2001 before calling time on his playing career in 2008.
8) Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen) 17 years, 126 days
The Aachen-born midfielder has wasted little time in establishing himself at the BayArena since becoming Leverkusen’s youngest ever debutant in October 2016 – all while achieving impressive grades in his high school exams. The Germany Under-17 international has clocked up over 30 league appearances to date, scoring four and assisting a further nine goals in the process. His maiden strike for Die Werkself – in last season’s 3-3 draw with Wolfsburg – etched his name in the history books as the club’s youngest ever goalscorer. “Not in my wildest dreams did I see it going so well for me,” Havertz told bundesliga.com last summer.
Watch: Relive Havertz’s debut strike against Wolfsburg
9) Christian Wück (Nuremberg) – 17 years, 133 days
Wück’s debut appearance for Nuremberg – in a 4-0 defeat to Cologne on Matchday 11 of the 1990/91 season – proved to be his only league outing that campaign as the Franconians escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth. The forward netted eight goals and assisted four in 33 league appearances the following season, but was unable to save Der Club from relegation in 1993/94. Wück subsequently left for Karlsruhe, where he managed to bag nine goals in 81 outings. Stints at Wolfsburg and Arminia Bielefeld followed before injury forced him into retirement at the age of 28.
10. Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) 17 years, 134 days
USA international Pulisic’s meteoric rise to stardom has shown no sign of abating since he burst onto the Bundesliga scene against Ingolstadt in January 2016. Now 19, he has already turned out over 70 times in all competitions in a BVB shirt, registering 10 goals and supplying 13 assists. In May 2017, Pulisic became the youngest American to win a major European trophy by lifting the DFB Cup, setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the winning goal against Frankfurt at the Olympiastadion.