Brits Abroad: The six English players in the Bundesliga this season
Germany gains a lot of praise, most notably from English supporters who are envious at clubs’ willingness to develop young talent and showcase it in their top league.
A 2017 report found that while 69.2% of Premier League players are foreign, over half of all players in the Bundesliga are German.
As a result of their talent development, Germany stand at the forefront of international football, reaching the last four of every competition since 2004, and heading to Russia as World Cup holders.
Borussia Dortmund are one of the clubs regularly commended for their dedication to development – something Jurgen Klopp is now trying to implement at Liverpool.
Klopp in fact sent one of his players to Germany, English prospect Ryan Kent spending the first half of the season on loan at Freiburg, before returning and joining Bristol City in a search for more game time.
We’ve taken a closer look at the six players currently plying their trade in Germany’s top two tiers…
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) February 26, 2018
One of two English defenders at Borussia Monchengladbach, Egbo is in his third year with the club having joined them upon leaving Crystal Palace in 2015.
He has made only one substitute appearance for the first team this season, however, playing most of his football for the club’s B team, having battled various injuries during his time with the club.
“I’d read that the chances of coming through a club into the senior team were higher here than anywhere else in Europe’s major leagues, and obviously they are world champions and their entire system is aimed at youth development,” he said just after switching to Germany.
“They saw me playing on the international stage and, after meeting the sporting director, the academy manager and the head coach, it was a no-brainer.”
🗓️ 26th January 2018
First game in the first-team matchday squad ⚽
— Gladbach (@borussia_en) January 26, 2018
Swapping League Two for the Bundesliga, Hinds spent the second half of last season at Stevenage, playing 13 times on loan from Arsenal.
Then Wolfsburg, who were managed by former Arsenal academy manager Andries Jonker, signed the England youth international for £2million and handed him a three year contract.
He played 90 minutes in a 3-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on the opening day of the season, a week after his first start in the German Cup, playing on the left on both occasions, despite being a central striker by trade.
However after four games as an unused substitute, Hinds fell out of favour and in January was sent on loan to second tier side Greuther Furth, where he is yet to feature.
Kaylen Hinds – from the Stevenage bench in League Two to the starting lineup of Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga. Wow.
— Michael Yokhin (@Yokhin) August 19, 2017
The tale of Lookman’s transfer caught much attention this January, as Everton boss Sam Allardyce couldn’t make his mind up about whether to allow him to go out on loan.
Eventually arranging a move to Derby, the former Charlton man declined and said he wanted to join RB Leipzig instead.
Ademola Lookman has only started 6 games for #EFC since he joined the club. He’s scored 3 and assisted one. Pacey, direct & hungry to impress – In other words, most of everything Everton haven’t had all season.
— David Downie (@daviddownie17) January 25, 2018
Allardyce said Lookman’s “stubbornness” took him to Germany, claiming it was “one of the most unusual situations I’ve been in”.
And on his first appearance for the club, Lookman scored the winner after being brought on for the final minutes against Monchengladbach.
FC Kaiserslauten’s Osawe has revived his career in Germany as the only Englishman to have appeared in the second tier this season.
Progressing through the ranks at Blackburn, he made a handful of appearances on loan at Accrington and Hyde before joining Conference side Southport upon his release.
Scoring six goals in Merseyside, Osawe left Southport and went on trial at German third tier club Hallescher, where he impressed enough to earn a two-year deal.
The forward, who holds both English and Nigerian citizenship, became a fans’ favourite after settling in, scoring 17 goals in two seasons before stepping up a level to Kaiserslauten, despite receiving offers to return to the UK.
As well as becoming the first Englishman to score a hat-trick in 2.Bundesliga, Osawe also managed to have a hand in a wonderful comedy goal earlier this season.
Oxford burst onto the scene at West Ham, making an excellent Premier League debut in 2015 aged just 16 as the Hammers won 2-0 away at Arsenal.
He made 12 first team appearances in all competitions that season but has made just one Premier League appearance since, playing four minutes against Crystal Palace in January.
The powerful defender has, however, spent the majority of this season alongside Egbo on loan at Monchengladbach, and talks were ongoing about a permanent deal when David Moyes recalled him at the end of December, claiming the club shouldn’t be selling their best young players.
He was eventually allowed to return to Germany, but after much clamour for a permanent transfer he remains only on loan at the club.
Congratulations to Mandela Egbo (20) on making his Borussia Mönchengladbach debut this afternoon.
He and Reece Oxford (19) are the first 🏴 Englishmen to play for the same team, at the same time, in Bundesliga history.
Junge. 🇩🇪 pic.twitter.com/dqS1SUpYja
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) February 24, 2018
Nothing seems to faze 17-year-old Sancho, who moved to Borussia Dortmund from Manchester City for a fee of £8million last summer, being handed the No.7 shirt vacated by Ousmane Dembele’s departure for Barcelona.
The winger has made six appearances in the Bundesliga, having been scouted by Dortmund’s reputable youth department for three years before eventually joining.
Last season he smashed 14 goals in 18 appearances for England’s Under-17s, helping them lift the World Cup, and has since been promoted to the Under-19s despite being yet to turn 18.
Theo Walcott went to a World Cup aged 16…
At just 1️⃣7️⃣ years of age, Jadon @Sanchooo10 is already putting @BVB fans on the edge of their seats. Week in, week out. #BLRookie of the Month? Vote NOW 👉 https://t.co/9TPcKfP0MR pic.twitter.com/klY4sIfy8H
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) February 12, 2018