Holger Badstuber only celebrated his Bundesliga debut for Bayern Munich against Hoffenheim on the first day of the 2009/10 campaign, though it was not long before he had become one of coach Louis van Gaal's most reliable performers. The 21-year defender went on to play in 33 of his club's 34 league matches and even started in the final of the UEFA Champions League against Inter Milan before capping off a meteoric first season with a call-up to Joachim Low's Germany squad for 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Versatility is what makes Badstuber such a useful member of the squad. The 1.89m defender is equally comfortable at centre-back as he is on the left, while his calmness on the ball and aerial prowess only add to an impessive repertoire of skills. These kind of all-round abilities could prove vital for Low in South Africa, despite the fact that Badstuber had yet to play a single minute of international football upon his selection for the provisional squad on 6 May.
Born in the western Bavarian town of Memmingen, Badstuber joined local youth side TSV Rot before being spotted by VfB Stuttgart's U-13 squad. Enrolling in the Bayern youth academy soon afterwards, it seems almost incredulous that just a few years later the now 21-year-old has already won the domestic double and appeared in the final of Europe's premier club competition. Now the Bayern defender is hoping his rapid rise will continue on the biggest stage of them all in South Africa.