How Wirtz is challenging Haaland for the title of Bundesliga poster boy

Stefan Bienkowski
Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Florian Wirtz

Few would doubt that Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland and Bayern Munich goalscorer Robert Lewandowski as the global faces of the German Bundesliga.

Their faces are the ones that feature in every poster, tweet and YouTube highlights reel, just as the Premier League has Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Cristiano Ronaldo, and French football has Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and now Lionel Messi. Even La Liga, which lost its two global stars, has now put all its hope in young Pedri to attract global crowds.

As such, it’s only natural for casual fans or complete novices to the Bundesliga to gravitate towards Haaland’s Dortmund or Lewandowski’s Bayern. However, another team has emerged from the pack to challenge that duopoly and within their ranks is their very own star in the making.

I’m of course talking about Bayer Leverkusen and midfielder Florian Wirtz. A team desperate to challenge Bayern for the Bundesliga title this season and a young player ready to take on the fame of Haaland and Lewandowski.

How good is Florian Wirtz?

After joining Leverkusen from local rivals Koln in January 2020, Wirtz quickly made a name for himself in the club’s youth teams and was then jettisoned into the first team to help accommodate for the departure of Kai Havertz to Chelsea.

In his first full season at the club, the young midfielder quickly established himself as a first team regular, with no less than 38 appearances in all competitions for the German club. In that period he bagged an impressive eight goals and eight assists.

However, the 18-year-old has gone one step further this time around and has now cemented himself as the unquestionable star of this Leverkusen side, with no less than six goals and five assists from his first eight games of the season.

Remarkably, the only player in this season’s Bundesliga that has bagged more goals and assists than Wirtz is indeed Haaland, who has played slightly more football than the young Germany international.

Will Leverkusen be able to seriously challenge for the league title and will Wirtz establish himself as the new posterboy of the Bundesliga? We’ll just need to wait and see how this season pans out. But with Leverkusen hosting Bayern after the international break, we may not have to wait too long to see just how far Wirtz’s talents really go.