Jamal Musiala, a 16-year-old German youngster, has been dubbed “the next Lionel Messi.”
The 19-year-old was instrumental in propelling Hansi Flick’s side to a critical point in their World Cup qualifying match against Spain on Sunday.
And, while the four-time world champions’ results in the competition have been uneven to say the least, Musiala’s individual exploits have highlighted what an intriguing prospect he is.
The Bayern Munich offensive midfielder, who spent much of his boyhood in England but chose to play for his native nation, has been Germany’s brightest light in Qatar.
With one point in Group E, they must now overcome Costa Rica on Thursday and pray that leaders Spain beat Japan to prevent a second consecutive first-round World Cup exit.
Former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus, on the other hand, believes Musiala is crucial to their chances now and in the future.
“He has the potential to be the Messi of the future,” Matthaus, a World Cup champion in 1990, told BBC Sport. “I’ve admired him for the past two years; I admire his football style and his personality.
“He is 19 years old and is doing the things that will propel him to the top of the football world. He has excellent passing skills, is quick to think, and adores football.
“Musiala can be the next Messi because when Messi was 17/18 years old, I met him for the first time when he played against Hungary [the team I managed then] and he got sent off after 40 seconds.
“He came on to the field and tried to show he loves football, he has a passion for football. I have been a big fan of him from two years ago when he first broke through.”
Musiala’s impressive numbers on Sunday night included 84% pass accuracy, 100% crosses completed, seven ground duels won, three key passes and the assist for Niclas Fullkrug’s late equaliser.
Musiala is already Bayern Munich’s youngest goalscorer, Germany’s second-youngest goalscorer and the youngest to play for Germany at a major tournament when he featured at Euro 2020.
Now he is being tipped to make an even greater impact on the world stage.
Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said on BBC One: “For me, Jamal Musiala is one of the most talented young players.
“With Gavi, with Jude Bellingham, Pedri, he’s a massive talent. I think he’s going to grow during the World Cup. I think Germany can surprise.”
Ex-Germany manager and forward Jurgen Klinsmann added: “I think Musiala was the outstanding player for Germany.
“He’s full of surprising elements, he’s not scared. He is a fantastic young player that grows through the Bayern system. It’s his first World Cup and he will only grow more and more.”
What now for the Stuttgart-born kid, who joined Bayern in 2019 at the age of 16 after going through Chelsea’s system and representing England at juvenile levels?
Bayern Munich has extended his contract until 2026, and German writer Archie Rhind-Tutt feels he is invaluable to the German giants.
“I think this is a real chance for him to announce his arrival on a big stage and to see if he can drag this team where it hasn’t really worked out for Germany going forward recently,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. I believe this is a genuine opportunity for him to establish his name.
“There’s been talk in the German press that he is just unsellable at Bayern to the point where even 400m euros would not be enough for Jamal Musiala.
“This is the way he is being talked about, he is the future of this club. There are so many things to his game that make him so good. Even when opponents try and cut him down like we have seen with Lionel Messi over the years, he doesn’t quit. He’s really quite something.”