Jamal Musiala’s status as a prodigal talent has been no secret for the past couple of years; the question has been whether he’d be able to fulfil that overwhelming potential.
Well, at just 18 years of age, the young creative talent is already looking an untouchable force on the pitch and is only improving with each passing minute of match action.
The Germany international’s Bundesliga season thus far has consisted of substitute appearances amounting to an hour of action in Bayern’s first two games – in which he grabbed an assist for Robert Lewandowski’s deadlock-breaking strike against Mainz – before being handed a start against Hertha Berlin, where he scored the third of his side’s five goals.
Two goal contributions in a total of 121 minutes was not good enough to earn a second consecutive start as Julian Nagelsmann’s men faced a trip to RB Leipzig on Saturday evening, however.
Instead, it was Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane who started on the flanks, only for an injury to force the former off seconds before the half time whistle.
Enter: Jamal Musiala.
Only getting a taste of the action after the interval, it took the teenager just two touches to put his side 2-0 ahead, controlling Alphonso Davies’ whipped cross perfectly before finishing clinically past Peter Gulacsi in Leipzig’s goal.
A mammoth contribution in a game that had serious connotations for the Bundesliga title race.
His influence on the match didn’t fade there, however. It was the 18-year-old’s tricky and silky play on the right-hand side that led to Bayern’s third and essentially result-sealing strike.
Picking the ball up on the edge of the penalty area, Musiala breezed past the herculean Mohamed Simakan as if he wasn’t there, reached the byline and chipped a cross towards the back post, where Sane was eagerly awaiting a simple tap in.
A performance characterised by elusive movement, clinical contributions and a central influence, Musiala’s 45-minute stint on the field at the Red Bulla Arena was a portfolio of all his best attributes – as well as proving an unflappable presence in the face of ferocious physicality.
Those two notable moments of creativity and control bring his season tally to two goals and two assists in just 166 minutes of Bundesliga football. That equates to a goal contribution every 42 minutes – he may be playing around some of the best in the world, but those are age-defying numbers nonetheless.
The way in which Musiala has started the 2021/22 campaign not only further pushes him into Julian Nagelsman’s sights as an option, but forces the Bayern boss’ hand in his team selection.
The forward has been sensational so far this season and is, without a doubt, one of Die Roten’s most potent attacking threats with his smooth feet, smiley and determined demeanour and generally destructive ability- something rarely said about someone who is just 18 years of age.
We’ve come to the point where we should cease asking whether Musiala can fulfil his potential, but rather question what heights the teenager can hit throughout what promises to be a thrilling career.