‘Unprecedented’ stats prove A-Leagues wonderkid is ready to compete for Bayern Munich minutes

As Nestory Irankunda’s move to Bayern Munich draws closer, we use Opta data to analyse the 18-year-old’s incredible impact on the Isuzu UTE A-League – and look at how well the Adelaide United wonderkid will fit in with the German giants.

Having seen their 11-year stranglehold on the Bundesliga title ended by Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern Munich are expected to implement something of an overhaul. 

Whoever succeeds Thomas Tuchel at the Allianz Arena may be pleased to discover Bayern have already done some future-proofing, reaching a deal to sign Adelaide United’s Nestory Irankunda last November.  

Buy Isuzu UTE A-League tickets now: Don’t miss your final chance to see Irankunda!

The Australia under-17 winger – who will head to Germany after the end of the Isuzu UTE A-League season – enjoyed a breakout 2022-23 campaign and has since gone from strength to strength.

Combining raw pace, power and a low centre of gravity with an eye for goal, the 18-year-old has all the attributes required to succeed in Europe.

Nestory Irankunda16
Mohamed Touré7
Luka Jovanovic7
Nathan Burns6
Garang Kuol6
Thomas Waddingham6
Archie Goodwin5
A-League Men – Goals 18 and under

With Bayern famed for taking young talents to the next level, Irankunda could just be Australia’s next superstar.

His story is an inspirational one and shares similarities with that of his future teammate Alphonso Davies, who moved to Canada at a young age after being born in a refugee camp in Ghana.

Irankunda, similarly, was born in a Tanzanian refugee camp and moved to Australia as an infant, after his parents fled civil war in their native Burundi. 

Having come through Adelaide’s youth ranks, Irankunda was handed his A-Leagues debut as a 15-year-old in January 2022. He immediately began repaying Carl Veart’s faith, scoring a stunning 88th minute free-kick in a 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets in just his third appearance.

Don’t miss your last chance to see Nestory Irankunda play on home soil. Get your Isuzu UTE A-League tickets here.

Irankunda has not looked back. He added two further goals in 2021-22, then scored five in just 585 minutes in 2022-23. Among all players to play at least 360 A-League minutes that season, only Jamie Maclaren (108) and Jason Cummings (115) averaged fewer minutes per goal than Irankunda (117).

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Despite Adelaide toiling in ninth place, the 18-year-old has enjoyed his best campaign yet in 2023-24, a late-season hot streak taking him to eight goals, six of which have come in his last six appearances.  

Irankunda ranks second to Joe Lolley (51) for shot-ending carries in the A-League this season (37), but he is just as adept at creating for others, ranking joint-third in the competition for carries ending in a chance created (19). 

His performances are simply unprecedented for a player of his age. 

Nestory Irankunda58
Benjamin Kantarovski44
Mohamed Touré42
Mustafa Amini41
Joshua Rawlins34
A-League Men – 18 and under (2012/13-2023/24)

Irankunda’s overall tally of 16 A-League goals is more than twice that of any other player aged 18 or under in the competition’s history, with Mohamed Toure and Luka Jovanovic both boasting seven.

Since Opta’s A-League data collection began in 2012-13, Irankunda has also made more appearances (58), tallied more assists (eight), attempted more dribbles (200) and recorded more shots on target (43) than any other player aged 18 or younger.

Even when expanding that age bracket to include players aged 21 or younger across the last three A-League seasons, Irankunda leads the way for goals, ranking second only to Marco Tilio (25 involvements, 71 chances created) for total goal involvements (24) and chances created (55). 

To go with that statistical output, Irankunda has amassed a jaw-dropping highlight reel, the standout moment to date being his hat-trick against Western United last month.

Bayern supporters will now be desperately hoping his impact translates to the Bundesliga.

Nestory Irankunda has been locked in to play for the A-League All Stars against Newcastle United on May 24. Get your tickets to the historic double-header here. 

Nestory Irankunda.

He will face no shortage of competition in Bavaria, with natural widemen Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Kinglsey Coman and Bryan Zaragoza already at the club. The supremely gifted Jamal Musiala, meanwhile, is capable of playing anywhere across the supporting line.

However, a comparison between the teenager’s statistical output and that of his future teammates suggests he is a solid stylistic fit. 

Irankunda’s average of 20.73 carries per 90 minutes in the A-League this season puts him snuggly between the per-90 figures recorded by Sane (21.48) and Musiala (18.14) in the Bundesliga this term. A high-volume dribbler, he also completes an average of 3.42 take-ons per game, putting him just short of the numbers recorded by Sane (3.94) and Musiala (4.43).

Nestory Irankunda8
Alex Gersbach5
Garang Kuol4
A-League Men – 18 and under (2012/13-2023/24)

Adelaide fans know Irankunda needs no invitation to take on his marker, with the teenager ranking in the top two per cent of A-League forwards for dribbles attempted this season.

Facing Bundesliga defences will, of course, represent a major step up, and as they did with teenage striker Mathys Tel, Bayern will likely ease Irankunda in. 

His dynamic style could certainly allow him to play the role of impact player early on, tormenting tired full-backs. He was clocked running at a speed of 37 kilometres per hour last October (23 mph), faster than Karim Adeyemi’s Bundesliga record of 36.65km/h (22.77 mph).

Buy Isuzu UTE A-League tickets now: Don’t miss your final chance to see Irankunda!

But perhaps most importantly for a winger of such a young age, he is already showing an ability to produce the final ball. His 2023-24 figure of 1.94 chances created per game is only marginally behind Musiala’s 2.14 and is well clear of the 0.95 managed by Harry Kane, a striker lauded for his ability to drop between the lines and find the runs of team-mates. 

Adept at creating from wide or breaking in behind, Irankunda surely couldn’t ask for a better partner than Kane, who has 33 goals and eight assists in the Bundesliga this season.

Nestory Irankunda16
Marco Tilio15
Ben Waine9
Nicolas Milanovic8
Bernardo Oliveira8
A-League Men 2021/22 – 2023/24 (21 Years & Under)

During his time with Tottenham, Kane provided 24 Premier League assists for Son Heung-min, with only Frank Lampard (for Dider Drogba) matching that tally for a specific teammate in the competition’s history.   

If Irankunda can be coached to replicate Son’s runs in behind defences, Kane’s quality will ensure he gets plenty of service. 

Finally, by using Opta’s player comparison tool, we can identify players from across Europe with similar profiles to Irankunda. It’s fair to say there are some exciting comparisons to be drawn.

Using last season’s figures, future team-mate Gnabry emerged as one of the players most stylistically similar to the teenager, as did Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus and Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

Across the last 15 seasons, Opta’s comparison tool finds Alexis Sanchez’s 2015-16 campaign – when he scored 13 Premier League goals for Arsenal – to be the closest fit with a 90 per cent similarity score, while Neymar’s data from 2020-21 is deemed an 88 per cent fit. 

PlayerGoals + Assists
Marco Tilio25
Nestory Irankunda24
Ben Old12
Bernardo Oliveira12
A-League Men 2021/22 – 2023/24 (21 Years & Under)

That should be enough to excite supporters of Bayern – and Australia. 

Patience may be required as Irankunda adapts to life at one of the world’s biggest clubs, but Bayern look to have identified a star of the future.

If Irankunda can make good on his promise, he can become the next great Australian export.

Buy Isuzu UTE A-League tickets now: Don’t miss your final chance to see Irankunda!