Jonathan Tah: Who is the Bayer Leverkusen and Germany defender? | Bundesliga
Jonathan Tah has led by example at the heart of the back four this term. - © IMAGO/Ralf Treese
Jonathan Tah has led by example at the heart of the back four this term. - © IMAGO/Ralf Treese

Jonathan Tah: Who is the Bayer Leverkusen and Germany defender?


Jonathan Tah is in Julian Nagelsmann's squad for UEFA Euro 2024 and has been a key member of Xabi Alonso's side during Bayer Leverkusen's historic campaign. profiles the bedrock of the Werkself's defence...

Jonathan Tah
Age: 28
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Position: Centre-back
Country: Germany (23 caps)

Key stats

Following spells at Altona 93 and SC Concordia, Tah was 13 when he joined the youth section of local powerhouse Hamburg. Within four years, he became the senior team's youngest debutant at at the age of 17 years, five months and 23 days - a record that stood until 2018. He made his Bundesliga debut a couple of weeks later, with a short cameo appearance against Hertha Berlin, before making his first start on Matchday 6 of the 2013/14 campaign.

Tah furthered his development in Bundesliga 2 with Fortuna Düsseldorf, making 23 appearances during a successful loan spell in 2014/15 that paved the way for a move to Leverkusen. He ended his first campaign back in the top flight with the gold Fritz Walter Medal as Germany's best young player in his age group, and remains a virtual ever-present in the Bayer defence to this day. He has now made over 250 Bundesliga appearances and has been a rock at the heart of the back four as Leverkusen have clinched a maiden Bundesliga title, and with an unbeaten treble still a possibility, Tah has developed into one of the best centre-backs in Germany.

Watch: Jonathan Tah's first steps at Leverkusen revisited

The 6'4" Tah's growth domestically has been reflected on the international scene with Germany. A firm fixture throughout his teen years and captain of the side that reached the 2019 U21 Euros final, he made his senior debut in March 2016 and was part of his country's Euro 2016 squad. Under Julian Nagelsmann, Tah has become one of the first names on the teamsheet and was expected to start alongside Antonio Rüdiger at this summer's continental championships.

Plays a bit like: Matthijs De Ligt

Tah regularly plays as one of two central defenders in a back four, but has also proven his versatility in a back three with Germany. Physical in the tackle, dominant in the air and confident on the ball, he has much in common with Bayern Munich counterpart Matthijs De Ligt.

Jonathan Tah is set to start for Germany at UEFA Euro 2024. - IMAGO/Laci Perenyi

Did you know?

Prior to receiving the call ahead of Euro 2016, Tah had just landed in Miami for a summer break. Just as he arrived at his hotel room — with his bags still unpacked — he took a call from Löw asking if he was available. He replied with a "yes" before immediately catching the next flight to Germany.

“That night, the guys I had watched win the World Cup only two years before, were now sitting across from me at dinner,” he later told The Players' Tribune.

What they're saying

"Jonathan has a great history here. He's an international player. He's ambitious. He is held in high regard by his teammates. We expect him to take the next step personality-wise." - Former Leverkusen head coach Gerardo Seoane

Jonathan Tah's best moments of 2023/24

"Jona has really matured. He's already experienced a lot and, in difficult times, always tries to push through." - Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes

"He's a young player with a lot of potential. He's physically strong and very quick. Everything is possible." - Löw before Tah’s first Germany call-up