Arjen Robben is one of the Bundesliga’s top stars but Michael Bell looks at five other Dutchmen to keep an eye on as the season gets underway this weekend.

Javairo Dilrosun

Seen as one of Netherlands biggest talents when coming through the Ajax academy, Dilrosun decided to leave Amsterdam for Manchester City in the summer of 2014.

The pacey winger never made it past the English side’s U23’s and this summer decided enough was enough. He rejected a new contract from the Premier League side and signed for Hertha Berlin.

The club’s fans have already been impressed with their new signings speed and trickery during pre-season and Dilrosun will now be aiming to make an impact in the Bundesliga.

It will be the 20-year-old’s first full season in first team football and he will be eager to show why he was so highly regarded in Amsterdam.

Wout Weghorst

After the best season of his career, towering striker Wout Weghorst has departed AZ Alkmaar for his first journey abroad with Wolfsburg.

Weghorst had an unremarkable start to his career with FC Emmen and Heracles Almelo, but the striker has developed rapidly since joining AZ Alkmaar in 2016. Last season, the 26-year-old was outstanding, scoring 27 goals and providing eight assists in 37 matches. His form has earned him three caps for Netherlands and convinced Wolfsburg to bring him to Germany.

A powerful target man, Weghorst is the type of striker that gets in opponents faces and is a nightmare to defend against. He will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Bas Dost, who also made a big impression at Wolfsburg.

Jetro Willems

The left-back didn’t make a huge impact during his first season at Eintracht Frankfurt but is now aiming to win his place back in the Dutch national team.

Willems starred at PSV Eindhoven for years and earned 22 caps for Netherlands before finally departing the Philips Stadion last summer for Frankfurt. Eintracht had a fairytale ending to their season after beating Bayern Munich in the final of the German Cup, but Willems won’t have been totally happy with the campaign, which saw him in and out of the team due to personal issues.

Willems is an attack-minded left-back with good pace and dribbling ability. His main strength is his crossing ability with the 24-year-old providing five assists last season and 34 during his time at PSV.

Willems has been first choice left back in Eintracht’s first two games of the season and he will be hoping to improve his form and regain his spot in Ronald Koeman’s Oranje squad.

Justin Hoogma

A Netherlands U21 international, Hoogma will be aiming to finally earn a regular spot in the Hoffenheim first team this season.

Hoogma made a big impression for Heracles Almelo during the 2016/17 season and was snapped up by Hoffenheim last summer for close to €3 million. The centre-back appeared in two Europa League ties during his first campaign but failed to make his Bundesliga debut and spent most of the campaign with the reserves.

However, the 20-year-old has featured during pre-season and played 34 minutes of Hoffenheim’s cup tie with Kaiserslautern last weekend, giving him hope that he is in Julian Nagelsmann’s plans.

Hoogma is regarded as one of Netherlands most exciting young defenders and this could be his breakout campaign in the Bundesliga if he is given the chance.

Riechedly Bazoer

Can Riechedly Bazoer get his career back on track with Wolfsburg this season?

Bazoer was regarded as a top Netherlands prospect when he swapped PSV for Ajax at the age of 16 and two years later he had established himself in the Ajax line-up. The midfielder was a top performer for Frank de Boer and he earned his Netherlands just weeks after his 19th birthday.

However, Bazoer fell out of favour at Ajax when Peter Bosz took over and in December of 2016 signed for Wolfsburg. His first few months in Germany went well and he was nominated for the rookie of the year award. However, Wolfsburg struggled last season, flirting with relegation again, and Bazoer only made 14 appearances.

The defensive midfielder, who was strong on the ball and powerful in the tackle at Ajax, looks short of confidence on the pitch and has fallen out of favour with club and country, with Bazoer not even selected for the U21’s recently. Wolfsburg were reportedly looking to offload Bazoer this summer but he remains at the club heading into the new season.

Netherlands are currently short of a top defensive midfielder and Bazoer was expected to be the man to fill the role, but his career has stalled since leaving Ajax. Still only 21, Bazoer has time on his side but he should be eager to make a big impression this season if given an opportunity.

The others:

Jeffrey Gouweleeuw: Former Heerenveen and AZ Centre-back has been excellent since joining Augsburg and has been aiming for an Oranje call. Will he get it this season?

Jonathan de Guzman: The anchor of the Eintracht Frankfurt midfield. De Guzman has given his career a new lease of life since joining the German side.

Karim Rekik: A former top prospect at Manchester City and PSV, Rekik endured a torrid time at Marseille but is regaining his confidence with Hertha Berlin. A centre-back, who can play along the defence.

Paul Verhaegh: Veteran right-back who left Augsburg for Wolfburg last season. Is a reliable full-back and an excellent penalty taker.

Joshua Zirkzee: A top prospect, the 17-year-old striker made his debut for Bayern Munich’s first team during pre-season. Will he make his official debut this season?

Jeffrey Bruma: The former Chelsea and PSV centre-back has struggled for minutes and form since joining Wolfsburg. He was injured for most of last season and was linked recently with Celtic. He remains in Germany at the moment.


Michael Bell (67 Posts)