MSV Duisburg’s German central midfielder Caspar Jander has been a revelation in 3. Liga this season. He has 8 starts in 12 matches patrolling midfield for manager Torsten Ziegner as only a 19-year-old. Jander has added an assist to his totals to cap an impressive start to his second season of senior football.
Jander stands at 183 cm tall and has an average build with some ability to ward off physicality. He is a high effort athlete in midfield with great pace and agility. Along with that, his instincts and football IQ are already admirable for his age. Jander’s athleticism is above this level of play and his mental traits are promising.
On the attack, Jander is an excellent on-ball player. His technical dribbling ability combined with pace helps him beat players with ease and often frustrates the opposition to cause fouls. He dribbles well with both feet and displays the ball control needed and decision-making under pressure that would be valuable in a possession-based side. Jander makes quick decisions and handles pressure well consistently. His passing is mainly with his preferred right, but his touch and pinpoint accuracy to get balls past defenders in short and intermediate ground passes when approaching the final third are a key to his playmaking ability. His off-ball movement is also active, as Jander always makes a central run to stretch the pitch after dishing to a teammate. In transition, he does the same, using his pace on central runs to stretch midfield and find space. In hold up play, he could do better to find space as he is too often stationary.
Defensively, the German midfielder plays with high energy and aggression. In the high-pressing system, this plays to his advantage and applies constant frustrating pressure in his approach. Jander often goes in for the tackle, but his technique is not the best and his aggression makes him prone to foul, so three yellow cards already is no surprise. He makes up for this with good positioning and awareness, and a knack for interceptions and blocks due to natural anticipation.
Duisburg’s tactics could utilize Jander a lot better. He often sits deep, especially in defense, despite his troubles at times. Jander still plays a box-to-box role, but he may be more maximized playing a bit more advanced. This would help take better advantage of his great high-pressing ability and even save some legs for him—Jander is yet to weather a full campaign in senior football. Additionally, his style in midfield lends more to a player who would be comfortable in a possession dominant squad due to his ball control and passing range. Ziegner’s tactics are not quite a detriment to Jander’s abilities, but a change in role or tactics could bring a whole new dimension of play to Duisburg.
A move from Duisburg could get more out of Jander than ever before. On the contrary, staying would guarantee valuable minutes at a young age in senior football. Whatever he decides, Jander will surely have suitors this winter and summer, although I do not envision him moving on during the upcoming transfer window. Jander may not be Bundesliga ready at this moment, but he is on track and a move up to 2. Bundesliga could be on the horizon.