8 Red Bull Salzburg Starlets to Watch Out for After Club’s Run to Europa League Semis

Red Bull Salzburg this week came within a single goal of becoming the first Austrian club to reach a major European final since Rapid Vienna were beaten by Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1996.

Portuguese centre-back Rolando scored the critical 116th minute goal that took Marseille through to face Atletico Madrid, but a heartbroken Salzburg can feel extremely proud to have claimed the scalps of Real Sociedad, Borussia Dortmund and Lazio to get as far as they did. 

They had even finished above Marseille during the group stage, beating them 1-0 at home and later drawing 0-0 in the south of France.

With fine scouting and the promise of immediate first team opportunities, Salzburg has proving to be a hotbed of player development. The club has already helped launch the careers of Sadio Mane and Naby Keita, soon to be reunited at Liverpool, as well as reported Barcelona target Dayot Upamecano. And people are eager to see who the next graduates might be.

Here’s a look at eight Red Bull Salzburg talents to keep an eye on…  

8. Xaver Schlager

Age: 20

Position: Central Midfield

Nationality: Austria

After making the transition from second tier feeder/farm club Liefering to the Salzburg first team last season, Austrian midfielder Xaver Schlager has taken on a bigger role in 2017/18.

He played at least some part in every Europa League game this season, starting 10 of them.

7. Hwang Hee-chan

Age: 22

Position: Striker

Nationality: South Korea

Salzburg plucked a teenage Hwang Hee-chan from his native South Korea in 2015, immediately handing him over to Liefering in his first season in Europe.

Now 22 years of age, he’s scored 12 times in 35 appearances in 2017/18 and will be heading to the World Cup this summer with his national team.

6. Duje Caleta-Car

Age: 21

Position: Centre-Back

Nationality: Croatia

First brought to Austria by lower league side Pasching, Duje Caleta-Car has been a Salzburg regular since the 2015/16 campaign when he was sill just a teenager.

Younger Croatian defender Marin Pongracic is also starting to make the breakthrough after joining the Red Bull club from 1860 Munich last year.

5. Enock Mwepu

Age: 20

Position: Central Midfield

Nationality: Zambia

Enock Mwepu has made the step up from Liefering to the Salzburg first team in just the last few weeks, after spending much of 2017/18 with the farm team in the second tier.

He didn’t feature in the Europa League, despite being twice named on the bench, but marked his full Austrian Bundesliga debut last month with a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win.

4. Dominik Szoboszlai

Age: 17

Position: Attacking Midfield

Nationality: Hungary

Having only turned 17 years of age in October, Dominik Szoboszlai is yet to make his Salzburg debut, but the youngster has lit up the Austrian second tier during his season with Liefering.

Already a Hungary Under-21 international, he’s scored nine goals from midfield in 29 Erste Liga games and is sure to be involved in the Salzburg first team next season. 

3. Hannes Wolf

Age: 19

Position: Attacking Midfield

Nationality: Austria

Hannes Wolf only celebrated his 19th birthday last month and has enjoyed a fine first full season with Salzburg after travelling the well known path from the Liefering squad.

An ankle injury in December and November disrupted his campaign, but Wolf has still provided 12 combined goals and assists in 24 Austrian Bundesliga games.

2. Amadou Haidara

Age: 20

Position: Central/Wide Midfield

Nationality: Mali

Amadou Haidara scored the first of Salzburg’s two goals in Europa League semi final second leg against Marseille, his second in the competition this season.

Now 20 years of age, the versatile midfielder arrived in Austria from his native Mali in 2016 and has played over 50 games for the club in all competitions in 2017/18.

1. Diadie Samassekou

Age: 22

Position: Defensive Midfield

Nationality: Mali

Plucked from Malian club Real Bamako in 2015, Diadie Samassekou is very much the crown jewel in Salzburg’s impressive collection of young talent.

Rumour has it that now Marseille, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen are all showing interest in the midfielder – he has directly faced two of those teams this season.

*All appearance and goals figures accurate on date of publication

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