Sports

Justin Njinmah: The exciting Werder Bremen star torn between representing Nigeria or Germany

Following their record-breaking unbeaten run in all competitions, Bayer Leverkusen have been the talk of the town in Germany and beyond.

Leverkusen’s stars Victor Boniface, Granit Xhaka, Florian Wirtz, Jeremie Frimpong, and manager Xabi Alonso have constantly hugged the headlines, leaving little room for other smaller success stories to thrive.

Like Serhou Guirassy’s excellent goalscoring run at Vfb Stuttgart. Like Maximilian Beier’s breakthrough at TSG Hoffenheim. Like Xavi Simons’ brilliance at RB Leipzig.

Like Justin Gideon Njinmah’s unfolding tale at Werder Bremen.

While Mitchell Weiser has been Mr. Consistent for Bremen and Marvin Ducksch’s nine goals make him the club’s top scorer, it is Njinmah who has taken a major step forward in his development.

This season, Njinmah made his full Bundesliga debut, scored his first Bundesliga goal, and claimed his first assist in the top flight.

And he has not looked back since. In 20 appearances, only seven of which were starts, the 23-year-old forward has five goals – the second-highest for Bremen – and two assists.

It looks like the start of an exciting career.

Who is Justin Njinmah?

Njinmah was born in Hamburg, Germany, to parents of Nigerian descent on 15 November 2000.

As a young lad, he played academy football at Eimsbütteler TV and Holstein Kiel before joining Werder Bremen in 2021.

His talent was on full display in no time as he scored 14 goals in 18 Regionalliga games for Bremen’s reserve team to convince the powers that be at the club that he was destined for greater things.

On January 6, 2022, Bremen handed him his first professional contract and shortly after sent him on loan to Borussia Dortmund’s team B.

It was a goal-laden adventure for Njinmah. The young forward scored five goals in 17 games in the 3.Liga in the second half of the 2021-22 season.

In the following campaign, Njinmah tore the 3.Liga defences to shreds, netting 13 goals in 34 appearances.

Dortmund know a rare gem when they see one, and they promoted Njinmah to the first team, handing him his Bundesliga debut in a September 2022 clash with RB Leipzig.

At the end of that season, Borussia Dortmund wanted to keep him permanently, but Werder Bremen wanted their lad back.

Ahead of the 2023-2024 campaign, Njinmah was integrated into the first team picture, and he has shown brightly with goals against Mainz, RB Leipzig, Freiburg, and FC Koln (twice) – including the winning goal at the weekend.

Style of play

Fleet-footed and tricky on the ball, Njinmah likes to dribble.

Njinmah can play straight down the middle as a lone centre-forward and also as a supporting striker in a 4-4-2 set-up.

His dribbling quality has also convinced some of his former managers to deploy him as a right-winger.

He strikes the ball well from a distance and can deliver good crosses into the penalty box from the flanks.

Which country should Njinmah play for internationally?

By the nature of his birth, Njinmah can play for either Nigeria or Germany.

Strangely, though, none of these nations called up Njinmah during his teen years.

Both have, however, begun making moves to convince the exciting forward to play for them.

Njinmah’s decision on which country to play for will not be an easy one, as he is not ready to walk into the starting lineup for either Nigeria or Germany.

Nigeria is blessed on the attacking front, with Victor Osimhen, Ademola Lookman, Samuel Chukwueze, Kelechi Iheanacho, Paul Onuachu, Terem Moffi, and Moses Simon leading the Super Eagles to a second-place finish at the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations.

Several other attackers were not in that AFCON squad, including but not limited to Victor Boniface, Nathan Tella, Taiwo Awoniyi, and Emmanuel Dennis.

Germany may not be as endowed as Nigeria in attack, but the Europeans have many excellent options.

And there are talks that Njinmah is not even the type of striker that Germany need at the moment.

Patience, though, could be the crucial element that Njinmah needs ahead of further talks with Germany and Nigeria.

The young man will be the master of his destiny if he first lets his football do the talking on the pitch.

N.B: Who do you think Justin Njinmah should play for – Germany or Nigeria? Leave your answers in the comment section below.