Winger | Bayer Leverkusen | Germany
It feels like Julian Brandt has been around forever and while not strictly true, he’s been around a lot longer than you’d think for a 22-year-old.
Since making his Bundesliga debut in 2014, Brandt has improved with every passing season and is even tipped to be a future Ballon d’Or winner on the official Bundesliga website. While that might be jumping the gun a tad too soon, you can understand the hype.
Pace, strength and intelligence are his most impressive attributes, as well as his eye for a ball and threat from set-pieces. At 6 foot 1 he does not come across as a conventional-looking wide man but his ability on the ball quickly outweights his large build.
Having been an influential figure in Bayer’s most recent challenges in the Bundesliga’s top four, excluding 2016/17 when they fell to 12th, Brandt can already be considered one of the Bundesliga’s most recognisable talents.
2018 has been…
Despite registering five goals and one assist towards the end of the 17/18 Bundesliga season, Brandt was unable to prevent Leverkusen from missing out on a top-four finish, but not before he put pen-to-paper on a new Bayer deal until 2021, which will have put potential suitors off for a little longer.
His form in 2018, despite the improved BayArena contract, will have made him a wanted man, not that he wasn’t already.
That said, Brandt has not been as consistent in the second half of 2018 as he has been in previous years. Three goals and six assists in all competitions so far in 2018/19 isn’t a record to be sniffed at, but his performances just haven’t been what we’re used to seeing - although nor have Leverkusen’s.
The fact he’s played the full 90 minutes in just seven of his 22 first team appearances in 2018/19 says all you need to know about his form and contributes to the winger only getting a B grade from IBWM.
The same inconsistencies can be seen on the international stage, although it would be harsh to judge Brandt on his performances for Germany, given he has never completed a full 90 minutes for his country and played just 19 minutes of World Cup football in Russia.
His main goal must be to work his way in to being a first team regular for Germany. He has 23 caps and 2 goals at international level but 2019 must be the year he nails down his position in what is a team well in need of fresh ideas and faces.
Beyond that, some consistency at club level with Bayer wouldn’t go a miss.