Matthias Ginter 19 Defender Freiburg Germany
2013 has been…
Really solid. Ending 2012 with the U18 Fritz Walter Gold Medal for Germany’s young player of the year, there were high hopes that this would be a good twelve months for Ginter. How do you top winning the gold medal in 2012? Win the U19 Gold Medal in 2013 of course, and that’s exactly what he’s done. At a club who will take a chance on their youth system he has flourished and is now a first team regular just shy of fifty appearances at the time of writing. He already has quite the reputation to live up to.
A converted striker, he is more than comfortable on the ball. Versatile too, he has also played in a holding midfield role but really excels, for our money anyway, in the heart of defence. This is no jack-of-all etc, he looks good wherever he plays, but his speed of thought, turn of pace and natural aggression make him a formidable central defender already. In time and eventually being nurtured by the surroundings of a Champions League club he will keep improving and it may well be we’re wrong and he moves to midfield, but we hope not.
Modern central defenders have to be comfortable receiving the ball from the goalkeeper, able to carry it when required and also provide a goal threat at set-pieces. Ginter can do all of that as well as reveling in the less cultured side of his duties, his pace more than capable of helping him out as he learns the positional instincts that serve the very best defenders well. Last season he played a huge part in helping Freiburg achieve Europa League qualification but this campaign has been tough so far. While his form remains good his club are struggling and this could be a character-building season. Come what may we suspect come the summer he will be moving on to pastures new.
Internationally, here’s a really good prospect in the one position that perhaps it’s fair to say Germany aren’t ridiculously overstocked. It’s all relative of course, he still has plenty of talent ahead of him, but as opposed to being an attacking midfielder he has a much smaller pool to swim through. Having now represented Germany at U18, U19 and currently U21 level, this summer’s World Cup may be far too soon but longer-term you can’t help but think a full international career awaits.
You also suspect that a move is coming pretty quickly. Arsenal are huge admirers, some journalists even suggesting a deal has been done with the player but that’s tapping up so that would never happen, right? Oh. Dortmund are also keen but Ginter has been quick to point out in interviews that if he is to move it will not be to a club where he will not be starting. This is sensible and in a position where experience can be key, he will do well to stick to those principals over the summer.
“Unfortunately for them, Ginter probably won't be a Freiburg player much longer. Openly a target for both Arsenal and Dortmund, Ginter has distinguished himself as Germany's brightest young defensive talent and crucial part of Christian Streich's team.” – Cristian Nyari, bundesligafanatic.com
“Freiburg lost some key players in the summer and Ginter has found himself elevated to the position of senior pro at a young age. He has had to shoulder a great deal of pressure as his team manages their difficult transition both domestically and in Europe. Helping the Black Forest club to survive this season in the Bundesliga will set the foundations for a career at the top” - Terry Duffelen, Talking Fussball Extra podcast
"Since the beginning of last season, Matthias Ginter (21) has made more blocks for Freiburg in the Bundesliga than any other player." - Opta
C+ Bound for a life filled with brighter lights than Freiburg, a really good prospect who may end up in the Premier League with Arsenal’s expanding German contingent