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Kai Havertz; record-setter
His start to life for Champions League winners Chelsea was not what many would have hoped, but those in Germany always knew Kai Havertz was going to be a huge deal for club and country as his career progressed. Now, the Aachen-native and Bayer Leverkusen youth product has set another record in a career that is already glistening with landmarks at every turn.
A former recipient of the Fritz Walter Medal at both the U17 (silver) and U19 (gold) level, Havertz was also Leverkusen’s youngest-ever debutant back in 2016, a record that was broken by current Leverkusen wunderkind Florian Wirtz. He remains the club’s youngest-ever Bundesliga goalscorer, while also still retaining the record of youngest player to reach fifty Bundesliga appearances, as well as being the highest-scoring teenager in a single Bundesliga campaign, and the second-youngest player to reach the milestone of 25-Bundesliga goals.
Germany’s youngest ever EUROs goalscorer 🆕
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 19, 2021
Havertz was a star that was always destined to rise, and his goal against Portugal in Germany’s 4-2 goal glut performance in Munich now adds another record to his already impressive list; youngest-ever goalscorer for Germany at the Euro’s
Difficult early days at Chelsea not indicative of his talent and potential
When Havertz swamped the Bundesliga for the Premier League in a move that saw him become Chelsea’s second-highest signing in the clubs’ history, expectations of immediate influence and scintillating displays had many Blues and Premier League neutrals alike wondering just how the gifted attacking-midfielder would get on in the worlds toughest league. Early doors, to say many were left disappointed is an understatement.
It was not until matchday five that Havertz opened his Chelsea account against Southampton, but did not find the back of the net in the league again until matchday thirty-one. All told, his 4-goals and 4-assists in the league were well below what many fans demand from a big-money signing with his reputation, and his added 1-goal and 3-assist totals from their tournament-winning Champions League campaign did not help the stats column, even though he did bag a goal in a final.
An extract from our @BBCSport article on Havertz back in November. From watching his strengths at Leverkusen, his early struggles were always a case of Havertz being misused in a deeper role by Lampard. Now he’s been given the freedom to stay higher up the pitch,he’s flourishing. pic.twitter.com/XGHk4R8yGo
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) June 19, 2021
But the issue all along was not Havertz, but former manager Frank Lampard. Despite his most effective deployment zone coming as a creative midfielder or a false 9, Lampard insisted on using him deeper in midfield in a frustrating period of mismanagement that had many convinced he would flop at the highest level of club football. But when compatriot Thomas Tuchel took the reigns over in the wake of Lampard’s dismissal, little by little, Haverta began to show signs of life.
Despite going through a season that has largely been filled with disappointment, his goal against Portugal will do wonders to reinstate his confidence, and could very well see him become the central attacking figure that so many knew he was destined to become. With Hansi Flick due to take charge after the summer, Havertz’s exposure to another new manager that is tactically astute while valuing just how talented he is should see him morph into the elite-level footballer his record-breaking feats have already shown he has the potential to be.