Without Julian Brandt's goals and assists Bayer Leverkusen would be seventh in the Bundesliga table. With six goals in his last six games the 19-year-old must now be asking giving Joachim Löw a selection headache.
Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Hertha Berlin
(Brandt 2', Bender 16' - Ibisevic 21')
Bayer Leverkusen confirmed their Champions League status for next season with a 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday evening. Goals from Julian Brandt and Lars Bender were enough to see Roger Schmidt's side beat the capital side, despite a goal from Vedad Ibisevic.
The result now means Leverkusen have won their last seven games in a row: a run of form that has seen them pull away from the mid-table pack and comfortably establish themselves as the third best team in the German top division.
Schmidt's ability to pull his team back from a dip in form in late February will earn him plenty of applause at the end of the season, yet it has been a select few players who have starred in dragging Leverkusen to this ideal position.
Javier Hernandez has undoubtedly thrived up front, while Kevin Kampl has continued to establish himself as the club's go-to playmaker, however there is one man who best characterizes Leverkusen's current run to supremacy: Julian Brandt.
The 19-year-old was at the heart of Leverkusen's early lead, taking down a through ball before he fired a shot past Rune Jarstein to open the scoring just two minutes in to the game. It was Brandt's sixth goal in as many Bundesliga games and another sure sign that the young talent is quickly becoming one of the most exciting, young prospects in the division.
Indeed, without Brandt's goals and assists this season Leverkusen would be 12 points worse off and currently sitting seventh in the Bundesliga table.
Such is the forward's contribution to Leverkusen's good fortune this season that questions will surely begin to surface over his suitability for Joachim Löw's squad in the coming European Championships this summer. If Brandt can take the Bundesliga by storm as he has done over the past two months, what's to say he can't do the very same for Germany?
Although Brandt has a notable way to go before he can consider rubbing shoulders with the likes of Thomas Müller and Marco Reus on a regular occurrence, there's no reason why he shouldn't be considered among the squad players who could offer something different off the bench.
With six goals and nine assists in 27 Bundesliga games, Brandt is undoubtedly scoring and creating as many chances as his main competitors for one of the places in the squad. Whether it's Leroy Sane, Andre Schürrle or his own teammate Karim Bellarabi, Brandt could argue that he has just as much right to be chosen by Löw as any of the alternatives.
Löw has always proven quite stubborn in his squad selections, choosing instead to stand by proven workhorses - such as Schürrle or Lukas Podolski – rather than pick the flavor of the month, yet Brandt could offer a genuine alternative off the bench that Germany don't currently have in their roster.
The recent injury to Wolfsburg's Julian Draxler may rule him out of the competition, meaning a position on the wing will be up for grabs for one of the Bundesliga's most promising young forwards. On current form, Brandt stands ahead of the rest of his potential competitors.