22 Midfielder Schalke 04 Germany
Upon announcing the deal to sign Johannes Geis, the Schalke 04 sporting director Horst Held said: "His dangerous set-pieces, his precise passing game and his eye for unmarked teammates make him one of Bundesliga's best central midfielders. That he has led Mainz onto the pitch as skipper at such a young age shows that he is capable to take on responsibility."
To call Geis a complete midfielder at just 22 isn’t hyperbole getting out of hand. He is very nearly there, perhaps only a little way short of being the finished package, after 85 Bundesliga games in his career so far. That number would be over 90 were it not for the terribly mis-timed challenge on Andre Hahn that resulted in Geis being hit with a five-game ban by the German football authorities.
The tackle was over the ball, very late and makes unpleasant viewing and did just enough to remind us that Geis is a still young player and frustration (Schalke were losing 1-3 with 10 minutes to go) can still rear its ugly head at times. Instead of anointing the 22 year-old as a player that has to be in the Germany squad next summer, we’ve cooled our jets a little.
2015 has been…
At the end of the 2012/13 season, Geis played eight times in the Bundesliga and showed enough to convince Mainz to take him away from relegation-destined Greuther Furth. He quickly became a regular in Thomas Tuchel’s midfield and has kicked on year-on-year from there with regular football in the German top flight.
Last season he made 150 tackles and interceptions in the Bundesliga – Baba Rahman was the only player younger than Geis to manage more; and created more chances than any other under-21 player in the Europe’s big five leagues (74).
2015 has been more of the same with Geis continuing to perform consistently in the centre of the park. Three new managers in the space of a year at Mainz meant Johannes’ head was likely to be turned. Players start to look elsewhere just in case the next man in doesn’t have use for them and while looking Geis found plenty of suitors.
Seemingly Tuchel wanted Geis to follow him to Borussia Dortmund but instead elected to join Schalke 04, and make the midfield his own. Up until the sending off Geis has been first choice in the midfield and developed the trust of his manager in a deep lying role. Johannes has been entrusted with protecting the back four this season, while also doing his bit to set attacks in motion.
Yet to be included in the senior German side, Johannes has got time on his side before he needs to worry about getting his hands on a coveted white shirt. He has been capped at every age level and it is clear that his future lies in Die Mannschaft.
2016 offers him the chance to work on his game, continue to be a staple of the Schalke midfield and do the disciplined sitting job. He’ll be ready in time for the next international qualifying campaign.
C+ Doing exactly what he needs to
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