Midfielder | Bayer Leverkusen | Germany
In 2016, at the age of just 17, Kai Havertz missed the second leg of his side’s Champions League last 16 tie against Atletico Madrid because it clashed with his school exams. To go from school to a fairly experienced professional with caps for his country in the space of just two years is meteoric.
A record-setter, he is the youngest player to reach the milestone of 50 Bundesliga games and is already nearing 100 senior appearances in all competitions for club and country. He is still just 19 years of age.
Adept with both feet, with an eye for a pass and a penchant for finding a bit of space in the final third, Havertz is a player who can do a bit of everything. At 6’2 he can certainly stand up to the rough and tumble of the midfield duel and is sometimes asked to protect a back four, but his vision and range of passing mean he is routinely used in a more advanced role, creating opportunities for his team.
Having played in the vast majority of Bayer Leverkusen’s Bundesliga games over the past two and a half seasons we can safely say that this isn’t a player whose numerous talents are in conflict with each other: utilised in an attacking midfield role, he is thriving and while 2018 saw him win both his Germany caps so far, you get the feeling that regular game time at the highest level and recognition on the biggest stage really isn’t far away.
2018 Has Been…
… Another great year (mostly).
Performing in the Europa League for the first time, Havertz has now played in every competition as well as international football for Germany, having been called up for the Nations League game against France and the friendly against Peru in September.
Although Germany suffered the ignominy of relegation, that can hardly be laid at Havertz’s door. Indeed, the shock caused by two poor international campaigns in a row for the 2014 World Champions - not to mention the acrimony surrounding the 2018 World Cup exit - may well lead to change with the nation’s younger talent getting a chance to step up and make the shirt their own.
Big clubs will be circling this young talent in the coming months (maybe even weeks). If and when he does make a move to one of Europe’s most feted clubs - a consistent player in the Champions League’s latter stages - he’ll no doubt be a regular for club and country over the coming years.