He may still only be 22 but Suat Serdar is already emerging as a influential player for Schalke in a resurgent season which has seen them shoot up the Bundesliga table.
After flirting with relegation before ultimately settling for a 14th-place finish in 2018/19, Schalke have had an upturn in their fortunes and are currently fifth on the table – just seven points behind leaders RB Leipzig.
The summer arrival of David Wagner has brought plenty of smiles back to the Veltins-Arena, with Die Konigsblauen widely regarded as one of the competition’s most vibrant and exciting outfits.
Schalke’s Rising Star: Suat Serdar
Under Wagner, Amine Harit has rediscovered the form that saw him awarded the Bundesliga’s Rookie of the Year award two seasons ago and Schalke’s most-dangerous player but, in terms of an ability to influence proceedings, Serdar is proving to be equally vital.
The 22-year-old is now into his second season with Schalke after joining them in the summer of 2018 from Mainz, and has already taken his game up to a whole different level.
His box-to-box ability makes him a genuine link between defence and attack, but he has shown he is equally capable of finishing off chances when they come his way.
With seven goals from 15 games, Serdar is currently the club’s leading scorer despite being deployed in a traditional central midfield role, and his tally has not been bettered by any playing in a similar position in the entire Bundesliga.
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From the way he effortlessly passes the ball past a goalkeeper’s despairing dive and into the bottom corner, it is evident that he is a natural finisher so it must be a good thing that he is also the one Schalke player who most often tries his luck at goal with a team-high 29 shots.
Interestingly enough, all of his seven goals have given Schalke the lead in a game – further highlighting his ability to rise to the occasion when the stakes are high.
Despite his relatively tender years, Serdar already has three Germany caps to his name, with the first coming last October in a friendly against Argentina – just months after he was part of the side that finished as runners-up in the 2019 UEFA European U-21 Championship.
And given the manner of his recent rise, and how much better he could potentially get, it would not come as a surprise should Serdar soon establish himself as an influential player not just for Schalke but the German national team as well.