Youssoufa Moukoko has become the Bundesliga's youngest ever player after making his Borussia Dortmund debut against Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Moukoko, who turned 16 on Friday, made his long-awaited senior bow for Dortmund as a second-half substitute in Berlin with Dortmund 5-2 to the good - Golden Boy winner Erling Haaland boasting an incredible four-goal haul.

The youngster had long been considered an immense prospect in the Dortmund academy, having toppled numerous goalscoring records.

Among them was his impressive haul of 34 strikes from just 20 games in the Bundesliga's youth division last season, while he also became the UEFA Youth League's youngest scorer when still 14 in October 2019.

Previously, Bundesliga licensing rules made it tricky for players to feature in Germany's top tier before the age of 17, with 16 years and six months the absolute minimum age to gain eligibility.

But those regulations were changed in April, allowing for players to become eligible on their 16th birthday, and Moukoko is the first to take advantage.

At 16 years and one day, he has comfortably surpassed the record set by former BVB talent Nuri Sahin (16 years, 11 months and one day) – Yann Bisseck (16y, 11m and 28d) is the only other player to have featured in the Bundesliga before turning 17.

Moukoko is also likely to eventually set a new record as the league's youngest scorer as well, assuming he can make his mark in the next 13 months – the holder of that feat is Bayer Leverkusen prodigy Florian Wirtz (17y, 1m, 3d) following his maiden goal in June.

Club sporting director Michael Zorc expressed concern over the hype surrounding Moukoko in the media earlier this week, but following his historic debut on Saturday, there is little hope of that calming anytime soon.

At long last, one of the world's most promising young footballers is eligible to make his professional bow, as Borussia Dortmund prodigy Youssoufa Moukoko turned 16 on Friday.

The Germany Under-20 international has long given Dortmund coaches, players and fans cause for excitement, with his accomplishments in the club's academy over the past few years attracting widespread attention.

He made history on the European stage a little over a year ago in October 2019 when, still just 14, became the youngest ever goalscorer in the UEFA Youth League – the previous record-holders had been well over a year older when they netted their first goals.

The previous season Moukoko had scored 50 goals and earned his promotion to Dortmund's Under-19s, and he took to that level with similar comfort, setting a new record as he scored 34 goals from just 20 games in the Bundesliga's youth division.

And such form has continued into the 2020-21 campaign with a remarkable haul of 10 goals in just three league matches.

Finally, his shot at the big time appears to be here.

A long time coming 


But why has it seemingly taken so long for Moukoko to be introduced to first-team football? After all, former Dortmund star Nuri Sahin, the current record-holder as the Bundesliga's youngest-ever player, believes the youngster is wasting his time in the Under-19s.

Sahin told Kicker: "Youssoufa must now take the next step - the Under-19s is too easy for him."

Well, quite, but German Football League (DFL) regulations have long been rather strict regarding the minimum age of its players.

Generally, before this season, players have had to be 17 years old in order to get a DFL gaming license – the absolute earliest they could make their professional debut until 2020-21 was 16 years and six months.

However, that was altered in April to allow players to become eligible at the age of 16, bringing the Bundesliga in line with many of Europe's other major leagues.

Therefore, with Moukoko's 16th birthday on Friday, there is the very real possibility of the teenager being involved in a Bundesliga match for the first time this weekend as Dortmund go to Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

While undoubtedly a step up, Dortmund have worked to ensure Moukoko doesn't suffer too much of a shock to his system, with sporting director Michael Zorc revealing in June that the youngster was to be integrated with the first-team squad "immediately" so he could be used in the top flight from his 16th birthday.

His time has come.

Historic feats within reach

Given Moukoko will be the first player to benefit from this rule alteration and his debut could come literally a day after he becomes eligible, there are several records waiting to be smashed.

As previously mentioned, Sahin holds both the club and Bundesliga record for the youngest debutant having been 16 years, 11 months and one day old.

The only other player to feature in the Bundesliga before turning 17 was Yann Bisseck (16 years, 11 months and 28 days) for Cologne in November 2017, though unfortunately he was unable to sustain that breakthrough and has spent most of his time since out on loan.

There are three other Dortmund players in the top 10 youngest Bundesliga debutants – Ibrahim Tanko (17y, 1m, 30d) in September 1994 and current first-team talents Giovanni Reyna (17y, 2m, 5d) and Jude Bellingham (17y, 2m, 21d) in January and September this year, respectively.

Sahin (17y, 2m, 21d) had also held the record for the Bundesliga's youngest goalscorer until Bayer Leverkusen's gifted winger Florian Wirtz (17y, 1m, 3d) came along and snatched it away in June this year.

Nevertheless, that too looks set to be smashed by Moukoko assuming he makes a bright start to his Bundesliga career, and given the ease at which he has taken to pretty much every other challenge until now, few would bet against him.

Erling Haaland recently suggested Moukoko is even better than he was at the same age – a scary thought if you are a defender employed in the Bundesliga.

They have been warned.

Youssoufa Moukoko will be integrated into the Borussia Dortmund senior squad "immediately" to ensure he is used to playing against adults by the time he turns 16, sporting director Michael Zorc confirmed.

Despite being just 15, Moukoko has already caused significant excitement about his potential, having accomplished several impressive feats in youth football.

As a 14-year-old last October, he became the youngest scorer in the UEFA Youth League, smashing the previous record by more than 12 months.

He then set another record in the Under-19 Bundesliga in March prior to coronavirus disrupting football of all levels, as the teenager took his tally for the season to 34 goals in 20 matches with a brace in a 3-0 win over Rot-Weiss Oberhausen.

Until regulations were altered this year, Moukoko would have likely had to wait until turning 17 before being eligible for the senior side, however the German Football League (DFL) changed the statutes to allow players to acquire a "gaming license" at 16.

Moukoko appears destined to be an early beneficiary of that alteration, and Zorc suggested he will be integrated into the senior squad soon to make sure he is used to men's football when he turns 16 in November.

"We are very interested in involving the boys from our own youth teams with us upstairs [in the senior squad]," Zorc told reporters on Thursday.

"We want to play at the top in the Bundesliga and also in the Champions League. That means it's a big leap from the Under-19s to the Bundesliga, but that will always remain our focus, that's what Borussia Dortmund stands for.

"But that doesn't exclude us from getting young players from around the world. I would even prefer it that these players start out in our youth system because that strengthens the identity with the club.

"The coach [Lucien Favre] and I, we talked about Moukoko this week and decided that we want him to join the squad immediately so he learns how to play and train against grown-ups and professionals.

"With the rule change, we can use him in the Bundesliga when he turns 16."

Presuming Moukoko makes his first-team debut soon after becoming eligible, he will obliterate Nuri Sahin's record as the youngest player to feature in the Bundesliga.

The Turkey international, who now plays for Werder Bremen, was 16 years, 11 months and one day old when he first played for Dortmund in 2005. He was given special dispensation to be introduced earlier than the statutes permitted.

Another young player thriving at Dortmund is Erling Haaland, who after a sensational first half of the season with Salzburg has continued to astonish, taking the Bundesliga by storm.

Zorc still sees plenty of room for growth for the 19-year-old Norway international, however.

"The goal yield [16 in 17 games in all competitions] could not be expected," he added. "It is already a step up to move out of the Austrian Bundesliga to the German Bundesliga. He is still very young.

"Everything that you've seen has not been so sustainable, even if he has already scored in the Champions League. He still has to get used to matches every Wednesday and Saturday."

Borussia Dortmund's 15-year-old prodigy Youssoufa Moukoko set a new Under-19 Bundesliga goalscoring record by taking his tally to 34 on Sunday.

In his 20th league appearance of the season, Moukoko scored a quickfire double late on to steer Dortmund's U19s to a 3-0 victory over Rot-Weiss Oberhausen.

The Germany youth international scored 50 goals in 28 U17 Bundesliga outings in 2018-19, though BVB were unable to retain their title.

Lucien Favre said last week that Moukoko could be training with Dortmund's first team as soon as March.

He appears set to overtake Nuri Sahin as the club's youngest player in senior football, with the Turkey international having made his Dortmund debut at 16 years, 11 months and one day in August 2005.

Youssoufa Moukoko has proven prolific in Borussia Dortmund's youth ranks and head coach Lucien Favre wants to promote the 15-year-old striker to the first team.

The Dortmund prodigy was selected for duty with Germany Under-19s last week, returning to the international fold after making his U16 bow at the age of 12.

Moukoko, who turned 15 in November, scored 50 goals and supplied nine assists in 28 appearances as BVB finished as runners-up in the U17 Bundesliga last season and has maintained his stunning form at U19 level.

He has netted 31 times in 18 league outings and has another four in seven in the UEFA Youth League.

Ahead of Dortmund's Bundesliga meeting with Freiburg on Saturday, Favre revealed he hopes to have Moukoko involved with the first team before the end of the season.

"We have a plan with him, but I can't say exactly when he'll be with us," said Favre on Thursday. "Maybe in March, but we still have to wait for a few things."

Moukoko could make his bow for Germany U19s in a European Championship qualifier against Wales on March 25. They play Austria three days later and Serbia on March 31.

Nuri Sahin became Dortmund's youngest player at 16 years, 11 months and one day when he made his debut in August 2005.

Borussia Dortmund's Youssoufa Moukoko made history on Wednesday by scoring in the UEFA Youth League at just 14 years of age.

The Germany Under-16 international netted after eight minutes of Dortmund's meeting against Inter to become the competition's youngest goalscorer.

Moukoko does not turn 15 until next month, meaning he smashed the previous record – 16 years and 30 days, held jointly by Ajax's Youri Regeer and Christos Liatsos of Olympiacos.

After scoring 50 goals during the 2018-19 campaign, Moukoko earned promotion to Dortmund's under-19 setup for this season and has caught the eye of Germany boss Joachim Low.

"I've been speaking to [Dortmund U19 coach] Michael Skibbe for a while," Low told the Bundesliga's official website. "Everyone involved is well advised to wait and let [Moukoko] develop in peace."

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