Jamal Musiala: The Bayern wonderkid who has chosen Germany over England
ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 23: Jamal Musiala of FC Bayern Muenchen celebrates after scoring their side's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Lazio Roma and Bayern München at Olimpico Stadium on February 23, 2021 in Rome, Italy. Sporting stadiums around Italy remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Tullio Puglia - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

In the 23rd minute of the Champions League round of 16 tie between Bayern Munich and Lazio, 17-year-old Jamal Musiala received the ball on the edge of the box.

His next actions were defiant: one touch out of his feet, and the next touch a swift but powerful punch into the bottom right-hand corner. 

The ex-Chelsea youngster wheeled off with all the strut of a seasoned pro at the top of the game, like this was just an average Tuesday night for him.

He casually celebrated like he’s not now the youngest English player to score in the Champions League, like he’s not now the second youngest player to ever score in the group stages of the competition, like he’s not now Bayern's youngest ever goalscorer in the Champions League, like he’s not a stand-out performer for the world champions. 

Oh yeah, he also became Bayern's youngest ever player in the Bundesliga at just 17 years and 115 days old when he featured against Freiburg on the penultimate weekend of the 2019/20 season. 

He followed that by becoming the Bavarian club's all-time youngest goalscorer, smashing the record set by an 18-year-old Roque Santa Cruz, with the eighth goal in the 8-0 thrashing of Schalke on the opening day of 2020/21. 

But that’s old news.

The 17-year-old was fantastic throughout the game in Rome. He sparkled between the lines, progressed the ball well, and also worked hard when required: his six ball recoveries back that up. 

The attacking midfielder has all the ingredients to make it to the very top of the game, but he kind of is already, right? He’s getting minutes at Bayern.

421 minutes in the Bundesliga to be exact, but only two of those appearances have been in the starting 11 – making the fact he’s already grabbed three goals in the league even more impressive. 

So impressive in fact that the German and England national teams were fighting for his allegiance.

Germany, like they always have, have beaten England to that. So, here is everything on Musiala: the English, but now German, star. 

  • HIS BACKGROUND

Unlike England star Jadon Sancho who is thriving in the Bundesliga, he was actually born in Germany.

This is why the eventual switch from England to Germany makes a lot more sense. 

But he moved to England to live with his mother at a young age, and his natural ability was picked up by Chelsea.

His natural progression in the academy and England youth set-ups was that of a stereotypical talented youngster of football; all until the summer of 2019. 

The midfielder took a bold leap of someone at the age of 15 in rejecting a professional contract at the Blues and got on the nearest flight to join Munich. 

Musiala was placed in Bayern's Under-17 squad initially, but an average of a goal or assist every 105 minutes soon saw him promoted to the U19 – an impressive mark of his ability given he was 15 years old.

When the coronavirus pandemic forced German youth football to shut down, he was drafted into Bayern's U23s, impressing sufficiently enough to be handed his historic first-team debut in June.

  • PLAYER ANALYSIS 

With his frame so tall and lean –  a given at his age and maturity – his ability on the ball is the shining light. 

Musiala's skill set suggests that his ideal position is as a No 10, but his dribbling and footwork also mean Musiala can play out wide.

Is it too soon to say he is already one of the best dribblers in the Bundesliga at the age of 17?

A great example of his immense ability would be his fine display in the German Cup victory over FC Duren, which included a dribble that went viral on social media as he waltzed past three players with ridiculous swagger only to shoot wide. 

While having the ball close to his feet all the time, he keeps his head up – a key aspect in an excellent progressive dribbler.

His quick anticipation and the ability to get out of tight situations with footwork make him nearly impossible to stop.

The frightening thing about Musiala is his passing. Another trait that has impressed in this season – specifically in the 3-3 draw against title rivals RB Leipzig

He levelled the game 1-1 with a brilliantly taken goal. A goal that is very similar to his one against Lazio. 

But for Bayern's second goal is where his passing ability was on full show.

In a deep area of the pitch, Musiala carried the ball from midfield and shaped like he was going to pass it to Douglas Costa on the wing but Amadou Haidara cut down the angle of the pass.

Instead of cutting back and playing the ball backward, a usual trait in most even elite footballers, Musiala takes a risk. 

He opens up his body shape and in between two Leipzig players, progresses the ball between the lines to Robert Lewandowski who has dropped deep. 

This incisive play leads to Bayern’s second as two passes later, Thomas Müller is slotting the ball past Peter Gulacsi. 

If he can break lines this regularly – a key trait for an elite midfielder in the modern game – the sky really is the limit.

For the time being, his minutes will mainly be as a substitute, but Bayern are without doubt one of the best teams in the world at developing players. He is in safe hands.

But he's far from complete yet – he’s mentioned multiple times he wants a more physical nature to avoid getting bullied out of games. 

What can be no matter of debate is that he’s got all the ingredients to make it to the very top. 

  • ENGLAND OR GERMANY? 


If his talent and unlimited potential isn't already obvious, the fact he had two nations fighting over him may just do that.

He has played for both at youth level, so it was unsure - until last night - at what national team the youngster would pick. 

And last night it was revealed that he has indeed chose Germany. 

As reported by the Athletic, Joachim Low went to meet Musiala and told the teenager that there was a clear pathway for him to break into the side in attacking midfield.

Gareth Southgate has a great crop of young players but missing out on Musiala may be one that he lives to regret in the years to come.
 

VAVEL Logo