The Bundesliga’s top performers this season include the Freiburg left-back, who was recently promoted to the German national team.
Nico Schlotterbeke said that although he is not a keen player in England or Spain, he always wanted to play for the Bundesliga.
It was not a hint, it was a clear statement. The centre-back from Freiburg, aged 22 years old, is open to receiving offers from Bayern Munich. He is eager to move on to the next stage in the summer.
A deal is possible with Guler likely to leave and Bayern entering market for a centre back, and Schlotterbeke widely considered the best young player of Germany.
He is widely considered to be the most outstanding defender in the Bundesliga this season. With Freiburg conceding only 16 goals in 17 matches, the team tied with Bayern for the best defensive record.
Freiburg has beaten their opponents seven times, and the team came in third during the winter break. This could be the club’s best season since 1994-1995 when they were third.
Schlotterbeke scored two goals in December to top off his remarkable year.
The defender was unknown to German fans at the beginning of 2021. He had been on loan from Berlin United and had sustained a muscle injury that required him to miss the first half the season.
He was however fit again in January and put in an outstanding performance. United Berlin finished seventh in the Bundesliga and qualified for the UEFA Cup.
Berlin United wanted to extend his loan but coach Christian Streicher wanted Schlotterbeke back in the team. He has since built his defense around Schlotterbeck’s left-footed centre back and has excelled in both 4-2-2 and 3-5-2 formations.
Schlotterbeke stands tall and is athletic. He can also fly high and is quick.
His elegance is similar in style to Jens Novotny’s 2002 World Cup finalist, who is still the best centreback to have come out of Karlsruhe’s youth academy. Schlotterbeke, like Novotny has the ability to play as a defensive midfielder, but he has yet tried these forward runs.
Novotny was a child when Karlsruhe were a Bundesliga powerhouse. However, the club has changed since then, after being disappointed by the poaching of Schlotterbeke by Freiburg in 2017.
Edmund Becker, the Karlsruhe academy’s head at the time, said to ka-news that “It was obvious to me that Nico would continue being established as a top profession, but he always kept a firm foot on the ground and remained in contact with us.”
Nico was at Freiburg with his brother Kevin. They were a dynamic brother duo, whose parents sat in the stands.
“As children, we loved to play in the gardens and dreamed of being professional footballers. It’s rare for kids to realize this dream, so it’s amazing that we both achieved it. “It’s still my favorite moment in my professional career,” Nico said to Sport1 this month.
Hans Flick also called him, inviting him to join their German national team for the World Cup qualifying campaign in September.
Stefan Kuntz, the German U21 National Team’s leader to the European Championships this year, warmly recommended Frick.
Schlotterbeck was paired with Amos Pieper, a Bielefeld youth, in central defense at the U21 European Championships. Germany allowed just four goals in six games, beating Portugal 1-0 in final.
Schlotterbeke was delighted to have been awarded his first career medal. He returned to Freiburg in good spirits, and played an active part in the second round Bundesliga. Freiburg won 2-1 over Borussia Dortmund.
Schlotterback, who had not faced Bayern or Dortmund in his loan spell at Union Berlin was crucial for keeping an eye on Hallander. He was up to the challenge.
“It was my first match against a world-class striker. It was an unforgettable experience for me, as I knew my level and what I could do in the future,” Schlotterbeck said.
“The physical and mental challenge Harland presented was daunting and it required me to keep my eyes on the ball throughout. He didn’t score any goals, and I realized I could compete against strikers at that level. It was a crucial experience.”
Get into the German national soccer team
After that August afternoon, his self-confidence shot up and he was called up to the German squad.
After five games as a bench player, Schlotterbeke has not made an appearance for the German adult side team. However, it was valuable to see Rudiger, Corell, and Guler train and play up close.
Hummels is also right-footed. Frick is thrilled to see Schlotterbeke grow.
According to the German skipper, “You want to see left-footed center-backs and Nico is quite versatile.”
In the first half of the season, Schlotterbeke has not made any mistakes. In the 2-1 victory over Bayern, Freiburg was also impressive defensively. The Bayern hierarchy looked closely at the player they could target this summer.
Schlotterbeke enjoyed his time playing under Streich, one of the most skilled managers and tacticians in Bundesliga. Schlotterbeke is already planning for the next step.
Bayern is a team of very few players. “I am currently at Freiburg and will be focusing on the season until it ends.” Sport1 told him that he would then watch what happens in the future.
His teammates call him Schlotti. But, admiring fans invented Schlotter Beckenbauer as a nickname. Time will tell if this name is true.