Jérôme Boateng has surely seen a majestic rise in his career. The now trophy-littered German international came from humble beginnings in the Bundesliga to where he is now. However, a failed and injury-marred season away in England with Manchester City nearly put a damper on his professional career.
Jêrôme Boateng has had an meteoric rise in his current time as a professional footballer. As of now, he is often regarded in the coveted list of world-class center-backs. The 29-year-old has already won just about anything a professional could ask for. Most notably, his UEFA Champions League title with Bayern Munich (and the treble) in 2013, and the FIFA World Cup in 2014. The German international is now among the most decorated players in the game. But this isn’t without any bumps along the road.
After coming through the ranks of the Bundesliga, Boateng made what should have been his first major move abroad.
The upstart center-back made his way through to Manchester City in the Premier League. However, what ended up defining that point in his career was a major injury setback and forced into playing second-fiddle to City’s current established stars. In spite of this, Bayern Munich saw the true potential that the young player had and were determined to go all in for him in 2011.
Times have certainly been difficult for the world champions. In the end, his determined upbringings and further development at Bayern Munich brought him where he is today. Thanks to a collection of talented coaching staff, his skills have peaked under the record-winning German champions. But his character and skill set as a footballer is best understood from the beginning.
Beginning in the Bundesliga
Boateng begins his career as a young upstart at Hertha Berlin. The youngster managed to earn his way through the youth squads to finally earn his senior team call-up on 31 January 2007. Subsequently, he makes his first professional debut on match-day 19 of the 2006-2007 season. The young German clearly impressed. At only 18 years of age, Jêrôme Boateng became a regular starter for Hertha Berlin during his only season at the club.
His impressive talents and underlying potential wouldn’t go unnoticed. That summer, Hamburger SV would heavily reach for the youngsters signature. If German media at the time was to be believed, this interest is what prevented Boateng from committing to a five-year contract at Hertha.
Then, Boateng would spend two relatively successful seasons at Hamburger SV. After impressing at Hertha Berlin, the youngster would then become a regular in the Hamburg defense as a center-half in their 2008-2009 season defense. Despite finishing fifth, the Hamburg side finished only eight points off of first place. Just as well, he contributed to leading the Hamburg squad through to the UEFA Europa League semifinals in both of his seasons for the club.
Success would clearly continue personally for Boateng. in the 2009-2010 season, he would continue being a regular starter in the Hamburg back-line as a center-half. That summer, his first international break would arrive for Germany. Boateng earned himself a very solid tally of 113 appearances at the club. After impressing at Hamburg, manager Joachim Löw would grant him a spot in the national side for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Germans would then obviously lead a deep run into the tournament, finishing third behind the Netherlands.
An unsuccessful trip abroad
At this point, Boateng had attracted the attention of the footballing world abroad. After raising expectations at both the club and national levels with Hamburger and Germany respectively, Manchester City came knocking. Under normal circumstances, this would have been the young up-and-comers first major move to a more prominent club abroad.
However, this move would end up proving to be more of a career setback than anything else. As if a bad omen, just before the start of the season the German suffered an injury. Boateng ended up tearing a tendon in his left knee. This would force him out of the very start of the Premier League season.
With that, Boateng wasn’t able to make his debut until 25 September of 2010 in a 1-0 victory against Chelsea. Even further still, his first competitive start for Manchester City didn’t come until a 1-1 Europa League draw with Italian giants, Juventus. In this failed season with the English club, he was largely made to feature as an alternating option at center-back. He was also made substitute and as an alternating right-back occasionally.
Whenever he would feature, it was largely rotational with Micah Richards. While Boateng has played wherever his team needed him to be, featuring him as a right-back is a waste of his best qualities. He doesn’t quite have the pace for making constant darting runs down the flanks.
However, for his stature, he does have a solid pacing in his runs to help track back in the center-back position. This makes making Jêrôme Boateng feature minimally and back and forth between his natural position and an alien secondary one force more turbulence in his performances.
Renaissance at Bayern Munich
Boateng finally made his switch to Bayern Munich in June of 2011. He did not want to see his international spot go to waste. This is largely due to being mostly frustrated playing at right-back with Manchester City. With the Bavarian giants, Boateng would reach the pinnacle of his talents.
Since then, he has become an integral component to Bayern’s own back-four. He would contribute to helping Bayern Munich become the record domestic champions, among a slew of other trophies. With 246 apps and counting, Jêrôme Boateng has 14 trophies with the German giants.
Such high honors include the treble winning campaign of 2012-2013, including the first UEFA Champions League title since 2001 in Wembley Stadium. On top of that, he’s earned world football’s most coveted trophy, the FIFA World Cup.
Especially under Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola, his game has deepened in development. Aside from being a traditional stalwart center-back in defense, Boateng has helped revolutionize the role of the play-making center-back, alongside Mats Hummels.
The big German is noticeably comfortbale with the ball at his feet. His talents also lie in helping drive the offensive play forward, as well as ushering the ball away from dangerous situations. Just as well, he’s become incredibly successful in long-ball distribution. This is particularly useful against high-pressing teams that seek to run at the back-line.
Alongside his partner Mats Hummels, he is a strong performer in the defense whether at Bayern Munich or Germany. They will both be players to watch come Russia 2018, along with his further career at Bayern Munich.