Germany have produced an abundance of world-class quality midfielders. Philipp Lahm the modern legend spent some defining years in midfield, Lothar Matthäus, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Götze the World Cup hero. The list goes on. Many of them are known for their versatility, and our One to Watch, Suat Serdar stats show he is fighting to be included one day in that list.
Suat Serdar was born on 11th April 1997, in the German town of Bingen am Rhein. A budding footballer from a young age, he joined his home club Hassia Bingen. The side formed his roots, but he soon outgrew the 5th Division team. In 2008 he joined the youth setup of Mainz. Still only a child, and with parents often busy working, the youngster used to make his own way to training.
Taking the train 20 miles to train is something that not many can face, and keep up with for some years. But Suat Serdar did.
“Getting so used to being independent at such an early age helped Suat become the grounded person he is,” said his brother Mükkerem Serdar to Reviersport.
He made his first team debut on 18 September 2015 against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Serdar played 45 games for the Mainz first team, over a course of 3 years. Playing in the heart of midfield, the young German was quickly spotted by a club who was quickly in need of an ‘attacking’ defensive midfielder.
Suat Serdar – Schalke 04
Schalke have always produced top players, their academy alumni could challenge any top team in the world. From Mesut Özil to İlkay Gündoğan, the youth have been shaped into world-class players. One of the latest to come off the production line is Leon Goretzka.
A workaholic midfielder with an eye for goal, Goretzka departed the Royal Blues in 2018 to join giants Bayern Munich.
Quick to search for a replacement, the scouts at Schalke turned to Serdar. It was former Mainz sporting director Christian Heidel who lured him to Schalke. Heidel knew Serdar from his time at Mainz and, when they signed the midfielder, said:
“Suat is a young, very ambitious player with a lot of potential. He will have the time to develop into a very good Bundesliga player with us”.
Schalke had a poor season 2018/19, and the departure of manager Domenico Tedesco led to former Huddersfield manager David Wagner being brought in. Eager to bring the side back to their former glory, the German manager pushed his side to increase their fitness.
One player that has really seen the improvement from this is Suat Serdar. The midfielder has been vital in the heart of the Rhone side’s midfield, as he gained the nickname ‘metronome’.
Suat Serdar Stats
The first thing that stands out looking at Suat Serdar’s stats is the fact that he has scored an incredible 7 goals this season. In 18 appearances he has taken 33 shots. This works out to a 21% conversion rate. While this is an unsustainable statistic for a defensive midfielder (Sergio Aguero has a 22% rate) it shows he is willing to get forward. This kind of attacking ability makes him similar to his predecessor Leon Goretzka.
Defensively, he controls the park. Serdar averages 2.8 tackles/game (only 4 players in the Bundesliga have more). He also makes 1.2 interceptions/game.
Serdar ran an incredible 7.1 miles in a league game, showing his tireless work under David Wagner to improve his fitness.
The German attempts 2.7 dribbles/game. This is an incredible feat when you compare it to the rest of the league. Only 5 players in the whole Bundesliga have more – Alphonso Davies, Thiago, Filip Kostic, Moussa Diaby, and Kingsley Coman. Again, Serdar is known as a defensive midfielder!
Suat Serdar Analysis – Play Style
The Schalke midfielder is the definition of an all rounder. As shown in his stats he is comfortable making tackles in the defensive midfielder position. 6 foot tall he is a different type of defensive midfielder than the classic mould (Lahm, Kanté, Casemiro). He is a dominating force.
Once he makes the tackle, Serdar immediately looks forward. Producing a killer pass or making a dribble, he is always there to start an attack. And once the attack has been started, he will always provide numbers and push up.
Blink and you will miss him, it is as if the midfielder has been wound up and set loose, as he is never found still. This makes him first to the tackle, and first to help out in attack. David Wagner has given the German a free role in the midfield – something that he clearly relishes as the midfield controller.
He seems to read the game as if it is in slow motion. Scoring the winner against Union Berlin, Serdar spotted a chance and ran halfway up the pitch just to coolly slot the winner home and celebrate in front of the Schalke fans. Confidence growing, the midfielder seems to be loving this role.
Despite his young age, Serdar has a smart head on his shoulders. He does not rush into things, spending 10 years at Mainz. He worked his way through the ranks, gaining skills and confidence. Only when he thought he was ready, did he agree to leave his childhood club and switch to Schalke. He left no hard feelings:
“Suat’s farewell was a very emotional occasion. Suat just wanted to take the next step, but it’s hard when you’ve seen him rise the ranks from the youth team to the first team.” – Sandro Schwarz, Serdar’s coach at Mainz.
He recently stated that he is excited to spend more time with Schalke:
“I have a contract with Schalke until 2022, so it still runs for a while. But if [Schalke head of sport] Jochen Schneider were to come and offer me a new contract now, I wouldn’t say no.”
He goes on to say that you can never say never. And he might find things more difficult as he gains more attention. Suat Serdar’s stats are already being noticed.
Serdar made his national team debut on on 9 October 2019 in a friendly against Argentina. He has gone on to play 2 more times, and there is no doubt that it won’t be his last. Despite stiff competition, including from Leon Goretzka, Serdar will hope he can make the breakthrough.
Aiming to make the European 2020 Championships, his introduction to the international stage may be pushed as the tournament was confirmed to 2021. David Wagner will be happy about this, as will the Schalke fans. But the secret may not be kept forever.
Many are linking him to the Premier league, as a player that can turn defence into attack is a valuable one.
We wrote that Chelsea are looking at Declan Rice as a defensive midfielder. But with a huge price tag, could Frank Lampard, one of the best ever goalscoring midfielders, look to Germany?