Nineteen-year-old Leroy Sane could be of Germany's surprise packages next summer.
1. Sane steps out on the big stage
After winning his first full cap for Germany as a second-half substitute in Friday’s 2-0 friendly defeat in Paris, Schalke attacking tyro, Leroy Sane, must be optimistic of making the Nationalmannschaft cut for Euro 2016.
One of the revelations of this season’s Bundesliga, the 19-year-old’s speed off the mark, brilliant left-foot, ability to improvise and cool temperament could make him the ideal joker at the continental finals and Germany coach, Jogi Löw, certainly seems convinced, speaking of the “special gifts” of the ebullient Ruhr native with Senegalese roots.
The selection of young Sane definitely is a case of back to the future for Löw, who used to play up front alongside Leroy’s father, Souleyman in the Freiburg team of the late1980s. During their three-season association, it used to be said that they dovetailed so well that they could link blindfold. A good omen for Jogi and Sane junior?
2. Schubert to make long-term music at Gladbach
The decision of Borussia Mönchengladbach director of sport, Max Eberl, to give caretaker coach, Andre Schubert, the job on a permanent basis was the only possible call he could make.
Since stepping into the breach two months ago following the shock resignation of Lucien Favre, the 44-year-old Schubert – who only joined Gladbach as their Under 23 boss this summer – has proved the master of the fightback, only losing one game in his eleven in charge – a Champions League loss to Manchester City – and winning all bar one of his seven Bundesliga fixtures, thus transforming the Foals from lame and in last-place to a galloping sixth.
Previously at the helm of Paderborn and Hamburg cult club St Pauli, Schubert always has been a man who knew exactly where he was going.
“I will coach in the Bundesliga, that’s a fact,” he declared in a German TV documentary on young trainers two years ago. “I absolutely have to become a top-flight coach. “
A promise kept.
3. Wolfsburg’s priority for the next transfer window
Blick, a publication with excellent contacts in the Swiss game, are nshouting it from the rooftops that Wolfsburg have reached an agreement to sign FC Basel’s much-coveted young striker in January. Wolves chief executive, Klaus Allofs, has confirmed his club’s interest in the 18-year-old Swiss international, but denies it’s a cut and dried affair.
And wisely so. A number of top German outfits, including Gladbach, Dortmund and Leverkusen, think they are on the inside track too, as do at least three deep-pocketed Premier League teams. This summer, Basel turned down a Gladbach bid of 15 million euros for the teenager and are banking on a frenetic auction to up the ante.
4. Badstuber keeps his fingers crossed for good health
Back in the Bayern Munich first-team after 200 days on the sidelines with a torn thigh muscle, oft-injured stopper or left-back, Holger Badstuber is vowing to make up for lost time, looking forward to a concerted spell of trophy hunting with the Bundesliga champions and a place in the Nationalmannschaft squad for Euro 2016.
Beset by trauma and pain for the past three-and-a-half seasons – notably being laid low for the best part of two years by ruptured cruciate ligaments – Badstuber truly deserves a change of fortune. Here’s hoping.
5. Are Dortmund to go Dutch?
Influential Netherlands newspaper, De Telegraaf, is confidently predicting a mid-season Dortmund move for Heerenveen’s tricky and elusive Swedish left-winger, Sam Larsson.
In his second season at the Friesland outfit, the ex-IFK Gothenburg forward, is rated in the six-seven million euro category and also has been attracting admiring glances from Ajax and PSV Eindhoven.
If Dortmund were to get their man, the Swede probably would take the place of erstwhile Belgian boy wonder, Adnan Januzaj, who has singularly failed to impress at the Westfalenstadion since arriving on loan from Manchester United this summer and now wants out.