Scout Report: Jonathan Tah, the future star of the German defence

Jonathan Tah currently plays for German club, Bayer Leverkusen

Solid defenders are increasingly becoming a rarity these days and there aren’t many currently who can be termed as nearly flawless and world class. Many defenders have been touted to possess the right tools to become world-class, however, not many of them continue on the expected growth chart and achieve the potential they were destined for.

One particular young German defender has impressed with his abilities on the field and is garnering the requisite attention from fans and pundits alike – Jonathan Tah.

We take a deeper look into his development as a player, his style of play as well as his strengths and weaknesses.


Tah was born in Hamburg, Germany on 11th February 1996 and began his footballing journey as a child with Altona 93 when he joined them in 2000. His abilities as a defender soon caught the attention of SC Concordia and he made the move to their academy in 2009, after being associated with Altona 93 for 9 years.

However, like any other player born in Hamburg, he always dreamt of playing for Hamburger SV and that dream finally materialised when he made the move within months of joining Concordia. He was soon drafted into the Hamburg youth side and given his size and ability to shut out attacks, it came as no surprise when he made his senior debut for the club on 21st September 2013 aged just 17 years.

Tah played for Hamburg from 2013 to 2015

His performances ensured that he continued to feature often for the senior side during the season. However, to help his development and afford him the required game time, he was sent on a loan to Fortuna Dusseldorf, with whom he flourished during the 2014-15 season, despite the side having a rather mediocre season.

It came as no surprise that Bayer Leverkusen, his current employers, were impressed with his abilities and soon made Hamburg an offer believed to be in the region of €7.50 million to sign him, to which Hamburg obliged. Tah has since gone from strength to strength and is currently one of the mainstays of the Leverkusen defence.

Style of play and strengths

The big burly German is a man mountain and is an intimidating presence for attackers. Standing at 6’3”, Tah, who lines up as a centre-back for Leverkusen, has showcased the ability to deal with the greatest of aerial threats without much ado. It is perhaps his aerial prowess that has been his biggest strength thus far as he has won close to 60% of the aerial duels in the current season.

However, what must be noted, and does not get highlighted as much as his aerial prowess, is his ability on the ground. The 21-year-old relishes a challenge and is always willing to get into one to keep attackers at bay. What makes it more noteworthy is that the defender is effective yet clean going into tackles – a trait that not many defenders – can claim to possess.


(Video Courtesy: PapaNAU YouTube Channel)

Like many young defenders who are beginning to leave their mark on the game, the 21-year-old is comfortable on the ball and can prove to be an influencing presence in helping build the play from the back. Another aspect of his game that has caught the eye of many pundits is his keen understanding of the game.

Tah uses tackles as well as vital interceptions to break down the rhythm of the opposition and the 41 interceptions that he has enforced during the 16 league matches in this season is a testament to his ability to read the opposition’s move.


Having turned 21 only recently, it needs to be understood that the German international is still developing as a player and has flaws in his game that need to be worked upon. His passing can be termed as inconsistent and Tah has been found guilty of giving away the ball to the opposition on numerous occasions in the past.

Yet another aspect of his game that he needs to work upon, especially as a centre-back, is his positioning. He has a tendency to be caught out of position on numerous occasions, and for him to truly fulfil the promise he has shown, this is a weakness that needs to be weeded out or it could prove detrimental to his growth as a defender.

What’s next?

The defender made his debut for the national team in 2016

Having established himself as a vital player at Leverkusen, the next important goal for the young defender would be to establish himself in the star-studded German national team. Tah has been part of the German youth teams since 2011, and made his senior debut against Italy in March 2016 and has since earned two more senior caps. However, that would not suffice the talented centre back's potential and he will be keen to add more caps to his name.

Also Read: Liverpool transfer rumour: Jurgen Klopp looking to sign Jonathan Tah of Bayer Leverkusen

His teammate at Leverkusen, the experienced German striker Stefan Kiessling has been amongst the vocal supporters of the defender and was quoted as saying, “He has a body like a bull. It is incredibly difficult to play against him,” lending further strength to his growing reputation as one of the best youngsters in the business.

With regard to his future with his current club, there have been several rumours linking him with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and given the Reds' leaky defence thus far in the season, it would come as no surprise to us if the former Borussia Dortmund manager makes a move for his fellow countryman in the transfer window to come.

Edited by Staff Editor
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