One week today the Bundesliga will be back. If Belarus hasn’t been sufficient for your European football fix then the Bundesliga should quench your thirst. The big names will be there, the likes of Jadon Sancho, Serge Gnabry and Brit Erling Haaland but here Left Back Footy takes a look at some alternative players to keep an eye on…
Jean-Phillipe Mateta – Mainz 05
22-year-old French striker Mateta has notched up an impressive 16 goals in 38 league games since joining Mainz 05 in 2018. He previously tallied an equally impressive 17 in 35 whilst on loan at Le Havre from Lyon. Mateta made only two Ligue 1 outings for Lyon but hit the back of the net 5 times in 15 games for the B team. He’d previously averaged one goal every two appearances (13 in 26) for Chateroux having totalled 7 in 13 for their B team. That’s 58 goals in 129 games. Those are some mightily impressive stats!
Mateta has been capped at under-19/under-21 level for France but aged 22 has played for four different clubs both at both senior and youth level. He doesn’t have a record of staying in one place too long, has been vocal about wanting to leave and Premier League clubs have been sniffing around. Mainz sit just above the relegation zone so will need Mateta firing on all cylinders. With the global football following fully focused on Germany, Mateta will aim to put himself in the shop window for a big summer transfer.
Jeremiah St. Juste – Mainz 05
Mateta’s Mainz teammate Jeremiah St. Juste is another who could catch the eye courtesy of his blistering pace. Centre-back St. Juste, who can also play at right-back, has featured 17 times in his first season in the Bundesliga having previously clocked up over 100 league games in his native Netherlands at Heerenveen and Feyenoord. He’s capped at youth international level right through from under-18s to under-21s and has been known to pop up with the odd goal. He’s destined for have a bright future and should Mainz fail to avoid relegation the 23-year-old won’t be short of suitors.
Dennis Geiger – 1899 Hoffenheim
21-year-old Geiger is still in the infancy of his senior career at 1899 Hoffenheim but the midfielder has notched up 36 youth international caps for Germany from under-15s to under-21s. German table toppers Bayern Munich as well as Manchester City have both previously displayed an interest in Geiger, a man who’s contributed three assists this season despite not playing the full ninety minutes very often. Some solid performances during the Bundesliga’s return could earn the Mosbach native a move from Hoffenheim and really propel his career.
Marko Grujic – Hertha BSC
Serbia international Grujic is actually a Liverpool player but has spent the last two seasons impressing whilst on loan at Hertha BSC. He’s contributed 8 goals in 42 league showings which is a serious contribution for a player who’s been compared to goal-shy Nemanja Matic. 24-year-old Grujic was Livepool boss Jurgen Klopp’s first signing at Anfield and following some more strong showings in Germany, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he could yet add to his eight Premier League appearances.
Philipp Max – FC Augsburg
Olympic silver medallist Max has been a mainstay of the FC Augsburg team since 2015 and has complimented his 129 league games with a more than useful 11 goals. Max actually went goal crazy this season before the enforced break. The 26-year-old has 7 goals and 5 assists in 23 league games to date. That’s not bad for a left-back! Max desperately craves international recognition and if he can pick up where he left off then he could yet gatecrash the German squad for Euro 2021.
Jerome Roussillon – VFL Wolfsburg
Another left-back with international ambitions is Frenchman Jerome Roussillon. The 27-year-old is, like Max, a player not shy of popping up with the occasional goal. He’s registered 4 in 49 league appearances since arriving in Germany having totalled ten in his Ligue 1 days. Roussillon is still in the Europa League with Wolfsburg but they’ll need to overturn a first leg deficit should said competition be completed. Age isn’t on the France under-18/under-20 cap’s side when it comes to international recognition but it could be that in his mid-late twenties the former Sochaux and Montpellier player is peaking and can take it to the next level.
Rather aptly if not intentionally, there were a couple of left-backs on that list which is more than appropriate given the name of the blog!
Who are you looking forward to seeing in action come next weekend?