ROBIN KOCH (Kaiserslautern, Germany)
Position: Centre-back/Defensive Midfielder/Right-back
2016/17 stats: 24 games (2114 minutes) – 12 clean sheets – 0 goals – 0 assists – 3 yellow cards – 0 red cards
Robin Koch’s talent burst on the senior stage during the 2016/17 season when the young and very talented player became an integral part of one of the best defensive formations in Bundesliga 2. Kaiserslautern had all sorts of problems defensively early in the season and this was why Koch was given a chance to make his first appearance in round 8 and from there on he was a key player.
The very tall centre-back, he is 1.87 cm, showed great versatility and amazing marking skills. Koch played 14 games in the heart of the defence and in the other 10 he started he was used as a holding midfielder right in front of a back three. Robin also filled the right-back positions a few times late in games when the gaffer was changing formation and the very physical player has been one of the stars of his team this season.
At the tender age of 20 he showed amazing composure and great tackling and marking skills that in the future could only be improving under the right coach. Robin Koch was key figure for months on with Kaiserslautern achieving a run of nine consecutive clean sheets on home turf and altogether the Red Devils kept twelve clean sheets in the twenty-four matches which Koch started.
Koch is not overly aggressive and he rarely commits needless fouls or sees himself punished with cards, which is great considering that in the 2016/17 season he attempted on average 4.2 tackles per game, from which 3.1 resulted in successful dispossession of the opponents.
The future can only be bright for this young player, who has the ability to play in several positions and already looks ready for much bigger things than solid displays in Germany’s Second Tier.
I must mention that during this breakthrough season Koch missed three weeks due to muscle problems, but with the right physical preparation over an entire summer his fitness should improve quickly and with age on his side Robin Koch is very likely to become one of the next generation of German rock-solid defenders.
Koch is also yet to show attacking threat, but this can easily be explained with the fact that his current team Kaiserslautern are very poor when going forward and as a whole they create only a handful of chances in their games. With his height and the proper tactical development he could easily become a major aerial threat from set pieces.