Borussia Dortmund have been the destination for football’s wonderkids in recent years.
Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland and Giovani Reyna are the names that roll off the tongue right now from their first-team squad, but a new name has sprung up from their conveyor belt of youth prospects.
Ansgar Knauff has emerged in the first team of BVB in recent weeks, but who is he? Here’s the things you need to know about the new kid on the block.
In 2016, Knauff joined Dortmund’s academy from Hannover and soon linked up with superstar young striker Youssoufa Moukoko.
He has since represented Dortmund at every age group and made his first-team debut earlier in the campaign against Zenit St. Petersburg.
While he made his first ever senior start as a right winger, Knauff is just as capable playing a bit deeper as a wing-back.
He prefers the more attacking role in the side, as his eye for goal attests, but it means that if needs be, he is capable of digging in and doing the dirty work for the team in the defensive third too.
After shining for the under-19s in particular, Knauff was rewarded with his first ever professional contract when he signed until 2023 with the Black and Yellow.
He got his first taste of senior action in the club’s pre-season under Lucien Favre, but the change of manager hasn’t halted his development this season as he has featured in the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Dortmund sprung a surprise on Manchester City in the Champions League quarter final first leg, when they named Kauff as a starter for the game.
It made him the youngest German starter in a Champions League knockout game for Dortmund at just 19 years and 86 days, and he played 63 minutes before being replaced in the 2-1 defeat.
A flying winger with tricky feet, capable of going both ways with an eye for goal and a killer pass? Of course he’s been compared to Jadon Sancho.
Knauff will have come up watching Sancho tear the Bundesliga up and while the England international’s startling numbers are probably still a bit far from his grasp, he has the potential to be a similar type of player.
He proved that with a stunning solo goal in the final of the German Championship in 2019 as he waltzed past three defenders before finishing with his weaker foot.