Julian Brandt wins youth player award
Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Julian Brandt has been named Youth Player of the Year by the German Football Association (DFB) and will be one of three youngsters to receive the prestigious Fritz Walter Medal.
Brandt, 18, joined Leverkusen from Wolfsburg's academy in January, signing a five-year deal at the BayArena.
He made his debut in both the Bundesliga and Champions League at the age of 17 and has gone on to make a total of 13 league appearances, while scoring two goals. Brandt was also a member of the Germany under-19 team which won the European Championship in July.
Alongside his international teammate Niklas Stark, as well as Bendikt Gimber, he will be awarded the Fritz Walter Medal during a ceremony in September, the DFB has announced.
Brandt picks up the accolade in the under-18 category, while Nurnberg's Stark tops the under-19 ranking and Hoffenheim's Gimber has been named best under-17 player.
"He is a highly talented player, and has all the makings to come out on top here," Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League playoff second leg against Copenhagen.
The Fritz Walter Medal, named after Germany's 1954 World Cup-winning captain, has been presented to the best players of the three age groups since 2005.
Previous winners include Mario Gotze -- who won the award in 2009 and 2010 -- Toni Kroos, Julian Draxler, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Emre Can, Matthias Ginter and Benedikt Howedes.