17. Kai Havertz, Bayer Leverkusen
Havertz models his game on Mesut Ozil, but even Germany’s World Cup winner was not a Bundesliga regular at 17, which is when this youngster made his debut in October, and in April became the youngest scorer in Leverkusen history. He has been with the club since he was 11, and played for Germany U-16s at 15. Havertz helped Germany reach the Under-17 European Championship semifinals last summer. He skipped Leverkusen’s Under-19 side, as then-coach Roger Schmidt was impressed with him.
A central midfielder for the youth sides, Havertz has played wide on the right for Leverkusen, and his box-to-box style has earned some comparisons with Michael Ballack. He missed Leverkusen’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Atletico Madrid not because wasn't ready for the stage–but because he was sitting through a four-hour geography exam. He will have plenty of practical experience of traveling Europe if his current form continues. The next stop could be Poland, where the Under-21 European Championship will be held this summer.
What they're saying:
“He's another outstanding great talent we have developed. His ability to stroke the ball, to do the simple things in full serenity is outstanding. If his development continues at this pace, then he will a brilliant addition to our squad.”
– Rudi Völler, Leverkusen sporting director