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02nd Oct 2013

Nivea Player Profile: Julian Draxler

Scorer of arguably the goal of the night in the Champions League last night and a hot property in Germany, you’ll probably be hearing a lot more of Julian Draxler in the next few years.

Conor Heneghan

Scorer of arguably the goal of the night in the Champions League last night and a hot property in Germany, you’ll probably be hearing a lot more of Julian Draxler in the next few years.

It’s hard to think of a goal that was better than Mesut Ozil’s seemingly effortless half-volley against Napoli at the Emirates last night but cast your eye over this brilliant effort by Schalke’s Julian Draxler against Basle and then make up your mind which was better.

If he delivers on his potential it is one of the many goals of that ilk you can expect to see from the 20-year old (he only turned 20 last week), who already has seven caps for the national side despite the fact that there is more competition for places in the German midfield than in any other national side in the world apart from Spain.

Draxler is already expected to become a regular alongside Ozil in the national side sooner rather than later and if speculation is to be believed, it could have been him rather than his compatriot currently flourishing in Arsenal colours.

The Gunners are believed to have been one of a number of clubs in hot pursuit until he signed a five-year deal in the summer, but at least Arsenal fans have Ozil as a ‘consolation’ prize. Besides, they should be glad that Schalke didn’t purposely drive a truck with a huge poster display announcing Draxler’s new deal outside their stadium, as they did to Borussia Dortmund during the summer.


Draxler is committed to Schalke until 2018 but there is no guarantee that he will remain in Gelsenkirchen until then; in fact, it would be a surprise if he did. In committing Draxler to the club for now, the Bundesliga side have ensured that they will get top dollar for their star man if he does decide to leave and potential suitors will have to meet a £35 million release clause if they want to get their man.

There’s no doubting that Draxler has oodles of potential and seems certain to get better and better every year, as he has so far to date. In January 2011, he became the fourth youngest player to appear in the Bundesliga when coming on a sub against Hamburg and soon became the second youngest player to start a game in the German league (after Nuri Sahin) in a win over Hannover.

That season, Draxler played in both legs of the Champions League semi-final defeat to Manchester United and despite the fact that he was still only 18, he became a regular in the Schalke midfield in the following campaign, scoring three goals in 41 appearances overall.

Draxler played predominantly on the left of midfield until the departure of Lewis Holtby to Tottenham in January of last year afforded him the opportunity to play in his favoured central role and he responded with a much improved 11 goals in 38 appearances last year.

It’s easy to stereotype when it comes to German players but Draxler is almost the prototype of a modern German midfielder and hell, he’s probably great at penalties too.

He’s not exactly beefy, but at six foot two, he has a considerable physical presence and his technical efficiency, elegance and eye for goal have already drawn comparisons with Michael Ballack, which is very high praise indeed.

Schalke have made an excellent start to the Champions League this season so football fans who don’t follow the Bundesliga closely may still see plenty of him in the competition, but looking ahead his future could well lie away from Schalke and he will likely become a fixture in the national side too.

We were going to say ‘remember the name’ but with a name like Julian Draxler it’s hard to forget. It’s the ‘X’ factor, innit?