Best Ever English Players in The Bundesliga
The Bundesliga has been a hub of talent throughout its history. But, the number of British players going to the German top-flight to play their football has reached record highs in the previous couple of seasons. Players such as Jadon Sancho, Ryan Sessegnon and Emile Smith Rowe have all enjoyed valuable playing time in the Bundesliga to further their careers, and are now being given the opportunities to show their talent since moving back to the Premier League.
We have seen multiple examples of young players that weren’t been given an opportunity at their English clubs move to the Bundesliga, and for the most part, all have experienced success in some form. However, this season has been all about the coming-of-age of a new bright English talent that could become a staple in the national side for the years to come, Jude Bellingham.
Is Jude Bellingham The Best British Player To Play In The Bundesliga?
It’s hard to find England fans that aren’t excited about the prospect of Jude Bellingham. The 18-year-old has quickly taken his game to a new level since arriving in the Bundesliga from boyhood club Birmingham City in the summer of 2020, and that has quickly seen him become one of the most sought-after talents in the world.
Jude Bellingham 🏴🌟🔥#JudeBellingham #smsports #MattLargeCollab@PratyushGFX x @MattLargeDesign pic.twitter.com/IYQxG6y9n9
— Pratyush Graphics (@PratyushGFX) March 29, 2022
The midfielder impressed despite making just 41 appearances with the Blues in the Championship, and a number of clubs were looking to make a move for the star born in Stourbridge. However, despite visiting the Manchester United facilities, Bellingham moved to Germany in the hope of playing regular first-team football at the highest level.
He has achieved just that in two seasons with the club, and has already made nearly 100 appearances in all competitions. His performances in both the Bundesliga and Champions League made it hard for Gareth Southgate to resist calling up the teenager, and he made his international debut in 2020. However, this season has been the campaign where he has reached new heights.
England Star’s Bundesliga Stats
Bellingham has played 26 times in the Bundesliga, and has already scored three goals, which surpassed his previous best tally of one last season. He has also scored three goals in eight games across the Champions League and Europa League. But, it’s his added importance in this Dortmund side at just 18 that is staggering.
He has the ability to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and dictate play in the middle of the park. His stats in the Bundesliga this season have been incredible, as he has recorded seven assists, and has an excellent pass completion rate of 83.3%.
His game has developed massively since moving to the Bundesliga, as he is now a true box-to-box player. In the Bundesliga, he records an average of 1.4 tackles per game, and makes an average of 1.1 interceptions. That hasn’t taken the sparkle of his skills in the final third, as he still averages 1.7 shots per game, 1.2 key passes and 1.8 dribbles.
Which British Stars Are Playing In The Bundesliga in 2021-22 Season?
Following the departure of Jadon Sancho to Manchester United last summer, the Bundesliga lost one of its brightest British stars. However, there are still a number of exciting players from Britain playing in the competition this season.
Keanan Bennetts- Borussia Monchengladbach- LM; Age 23
Keanan Bennetts was one of the first English players that decided to move to the Bundesliga after not being given the opportunity to break through at Tottenham Hotspur. He signed a professional deal with the club in 2018, and immediately began playing for Borussia Monchengladbach II. However, his professional debut finally arrived in June 2020, as he came on in the last minute of a 3-0 success against Wolfsburg.
Bennetts was loaned out at the beginning of the 2020-21 season, as he moved back to England for a spell with Ipswich Town. He played 28 times for the club in the first half of the campaign, scoring once, before re-joining the Bundesliga side for the second half of the season.
Since returning to Gladbach, he has played five games in all competitions, with all appearances coming from the bench. He has played a total of 47 minutes, and has averaged 0.3 shots per game and 0.8 dribbles per game.
Clinton Mola- Stuttgart- DM; Age 21
Clinton Mola made his move to the Bundesliga in the winter of 2020, which ended his five-year spell with Premier League giants Chelsea. The 21-year-old is one of the most exciting young defenders in the Bundesliga, as he can play both in central defence and defensive midfield. He is an excellent modern-day ball-playing central defender, and has slotted into life in the Bundesliga comfortably.
Mola made his first appearance for Stuttgart in February 2020, just over a week after signing for his new club. His debut came in the DFB-Pokal against Bayer Leverkusen. Since then, he has found first-team opportunities harder to come by, and has recently been playing for Stuttgart II.
However, his performances aren’t going unnoticed in the international set-up, as he was handed a first call up to the England U21 camp in October 2021. Subsequently, he made his first appearance for the U21 side in a 3-2 defeat against Georgia.
Update: Mola returned to England to play for Blackburn Rovers on September 1st.
Reece Oxford- Augsburg- DM/CB; Age 23
Reece Oxford was highly-regarded during his time in England. That was evident by the fact that he made history during his time with West Ham United, as he became the youngest player to ever play for the club when aged 16 years and 221 days. His time at West Ham saw him enjoy some bright moments, and before the start of the 2016-17 season he was labelled as one of the best youth prospects in English football. Just days after this, he signed a new long-term deal with the club.
However, his career then began to change, as he was loaned out to Reading for the second half of the 2016-17 season, before then moving to Borussia Monchengladbach on loan in 2018. The club were happy with his development throughout the season, but they didn’t act on their statements, as Oxford would join Augsburg on loan in January 2019.
During his first half-season with the club, he made eight appearances. He would later join Augsburg on a four-year deal in 2019, and has become an integral part of their team in recent seasons. He scored his first Bundesliga goal in the 2021-22 season, and has played 23 games in all competitions. The 23-year-old has averaged one tackle per game, and 2.7 interceptions in the Bundesliga this season. It may still be early days, but he could be soon reaching the heights that many expected.
Felix Nmecha- Wolfsburg- AM; Age 21
A number of Manchester City academy players have made the move to the Bundesliga after failing to break through at the Etihad. Felix Nmecha became the latest player to do just that, as he left City when his contract expired in June 2021. It was a family affair when he moved, as Lukas Nmecha also made the same decision to join the Bundesliga side.
The 21-year-old has only played a bit part since moving to Wolfsburg, as he has made just one start, with 12 of his appearances coming from the bench. However, the move has enabled him to play in the Champions League, as he twice came from the bench to get valuable minutes under his belt.
The midfielder has averaged 0.6 shots on goal per game this season, and has a pass completion accuracy of 68.2%. However, he will be hoping for an increased role in the team moving forward as he approaches a period of his career where he will be looking to get experience under his belt.
Omar Richards- Bayern Munich- LB; Age 24
Omar Richards has been a highly-regarded young player throughout his career. He was transitioned into a full-back during his time with Championship side Reading after his moved to the Royals from Fulham in 2013. He made his first start for Reading under former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam on the opening day of the 2017-18 season. Over the course of four years with the club, Richards made just over 100 appearances for the club in all competitions, scoring two goals.
However, a dream move was offered to the full-back in the summer of 2021, as he officially moved to Bavarian giants Bayern Munich on a four-year deal. Many expected Richards to be used as a bit-part player, but he has played regularly throughout the 2021-22 for the runaway Bundesliga leaders.
Richards has played 15 games in all competitions for the Bavarians this season, which includes four starts in the Bundesliga. In total, he has played 423 minutes for the German giants. The full-back has averaged 1.6 tackles per game, 0.3 interceptions and commits just 1.2 fouls per game. The future for the 24-year-old is looking very bright as Bayern continues to battle for titles in both Germany and Europe between now and the end of the season.
Legendary British Players In The Bundesliga
The stars that are gracing the Bundesliga in this modern era are only able to do so after the success that British players paved out for themselves previously. Jude Bellingham may be the best current British player in the Bundesliga, but he will still need to go some way to match the achievements of some of the biggest stars that have called the German top-flight home throughout their careers.
Mark Hughes- Bayern Munich- CF
Mark Hughes is fondly known by football fans across the United Kingdom nowadays for his managerial success at clubs such as Stoke City, Blackburn Rovers and Fulham. However, he was one of the best places to grace the pitch throughout the 80s and 90s. After achieving success with Manchester United in the 80s, he moved to Barcelona for the 1986-87 season. During his spell in La Liga, he scored five goals in 36 games.
However, after that season he was loaned out to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. Hughes enjoyed a fine season in the Bundesliga, with the Bavarian giants, as he scored seven goals in 23 games. But, he was able to settle and returned to United, where he would go on to win the Premier League title on two occasions, and the FA Cup twice.
Alan McInally- Bayern Munich- ST
Alan McInally is known by millions of fans around the world, as he has been a prominent part of Sky Sports show Soccer Saturday since his retirement from the sport. As well as that, he also featured in the EA Sports series for FIFA 19, as he was part of the commentary team. The Scottish striker enjoyed a fine couple of seasons in the Bundesliga during his prime, as he joined Bayern Munich in 1989.
He would spend four years with the Bavarian giants and scored ten goals in 40 appearances. His most prolific season with Bayern Munich came in the 1989-90 season, as he played a vital role as the club won the Bundesliga title. However, his spell in the Bundesliga came to an end in 1993, as he played his final season of professional football with Kilmarnock.
Kevin Keegan- Hamburg- CF
Kevin Keegan is one of the most celebrated footballers from his era, as he dominated the game throughout the 70s and early 80s. Keegan arrived on the global stage during his time with Liverpool, as he won the First Division on three occasions, as well as the UEFA Cup twice and the European Cup. However, in 1977, the unthinkable happened, as Keegan moved to Bundesliga outfit Hamburg for a British record fee of £500,000.
The move raised eyebrows, as the side had not finished any higher than sixth in the previous 20 years. However, his time in the Bundesliga was a massive success. Keegan scored a stunning 40 goals in 111 goals across three seasons for Hamburg, as he helped the German side to win the Bundesliga title in 1978-79. His performances during his spell in Germany gained wide-spread approval, as he famously won the illustrious Ballon d’Or in both 1978 and 1979. That honour of back-to-back wins was only achieved by Franz Beckenbauer, Alfredo di Stefano and Johan Cruyff prior to Keegan’s success.
Future of British Players In The Bundesliga Is Bright
The success that has been achieved by the stars from yesteryear, and the continued success enjoyed by stars such as Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham, means that the growing trend of seeing British stars test their skills in the Bundesliga is expected to continue for years to come.
Furthermore, German sides are regularly on the lookout for bright British talent in the academy setups across the country, which means those that aren’t given a fair crack at breaking into their respective club sides will be given an opportunity in the Bundesliga. But, with the current crop of British players plying their trade in the Bundesliga this season, which of those could we see representing England at the 2022 World Cup finals in the beautiful stadiums in Qatar later this year?
Who Will Play For England In Qatar 2022?
While there are currently six English players representing Bundesliga sides this season, it would be hard to make a case for many of them representing the national side later this year. The only exception to that rule would be Jude Bellingham, who has been one of the players of the season in the German top-flight.
Bellingham has already played regularly for England, and will likely have a huge role to play as the tournament gets underway later this year. He certainly fits the mould of player that Southgate needs to build his squad around, and he could perfectly slot in alongside Declan Rice in Southgate’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.
His energy to get from box to box has already been evident in the games that he has played for England to this point, and he offers something that very other few players can manage. For many fans of the Three Lions, he will be one of the first names on the team sheet when it comes to naming a dreaming starting eleven for England’s opener against Iran in November.
Many of the other top English players playing in the Bundesliga this season will still need to prove themselves at the top level of the game, and it’s unlikely that they will be able to do that in the seven months before now and the start of the World Cup. However, Southgate has shown throughout his managerial career with the Three Lions that he is always on the lookout for potential stars, and isn’t afraid to give chances to those that aren’t playing in the Premier League.
That means that there is always a glimmer of hope that the new bright British talent in the Bundesliga can always force their way into the England squad over the coming year.