Created on 24-12-2008 at 00:00 AM
The Bayern reserves finished the year in the new national third division in a creditable eighth place, with the FCB U-19 and U-17 teams top of their respective Bundesliga sections. Werner Kern, head of the club’s junior team academy and reserve section, is understandably pleased with the season so far, “and I think we have good reason for that,” he exclusively told fcbayern.de. As well as discussing the reservoir of talent at the club, Kern also spoke of his most famous ‘signing’, Mehmet Scholl. “He’s a fine addition to the junior team,” Kern confirmed.
Interview: Werner Kern
fcbayern.de: Werner Kern, let’s start with the reserves, FC Bayern II. How would you sum up the situation?
Kern: “Very good so far. We have nothing to do with the relegation dogfight. At this stage last season, we were concerned we might not qualify for the new third division, but with only two defeats so far this term, we’re all extremely satisfied.“
fcbayern.de: Bringing on talented youngsters is even more important than the league position, isn’t it?
Kern: “Yes, that’s right. Our captain Georg Niedermaier, defender Holger Badstuber, strikers Thomas Müller and Deniz Yilmaz have all taken a giant stride forwards. This league is a totally new challenge for our youngsters than the previous regional league. In years to come, some of our players will make it in the Bundesliga, maybe even with Bayern. We’re confident about the future.“
fcbayern.de: Will there be any squad changes this winter?
Kern: “We’ll probably stay much as we are. One or two may move on, but not any of our first-choice players. But we see no reason for change at the moment. The team is solid, and almost always does better in the second half of the season than in the first. We’re looking for an experienced man to provide a leadership figure for our youngsters next season, but it’s not easy.“
fcbayern.de: The U-19s have had a fine season so far.
Kern: “Yes, they’re unbeaten at the top of the table, despite terrible luck with injuries. Captain Taygun Kuru sustained a complicated cruciate ligament tear in the very first match and is probably out for the season. Diego Pizarro, Vincent Bönig, Gianluca Simari, Manuel Ring, Dejan Radonjic and Nikola Trkulja all had surgery and long lay-offs, so credit to the team for an amazing few months. I’m sure one or two of them will appear for the reserves soon. Diego Contento has already shown he has what it takes.“
fcbayern.de: The U-17s are also top of their table.
Kern: “This is a very good team, and they’ve coped well with losing David Alaba and Oscar Lewicki to the U-19s recently. We have a string of talented youths with lots of potential.“
fcbayern.de: The junior team has set up a number of local club partnerships.
Kern: “We do it as a responsible approach to local clubs and the educational needs of the youngsters. We can’t have 12-year-olds travelling hundreds of kilometres every week just to train. Kids should be with their families, so we established partner clubs, where the lads can train properly, but not neglect their families or schoolwork. We’ve never taken players under the age of 15 or from a long way away, even if the quality in our junior teams has suffered. We now have 15 partner clubs, and we cover the whole of Bavaria.“
fcbayern.de: Former pro Mehmet Scholl has been coach of the U-13s since October. Are you happy with him?
Kern: “It’s fantastic having Mehmet on board. He’s a real role model as a player and as a person. If a 13-year-old can’t be passionate about having Mehmet Scholl as a coach, I don’t know what he’ll be passionate about. He likes kids, he understands kids, and he’s a fine addition to our junior team. I’m delighted he’s with us. We’ve not spoken about how long he’ll do it, but the door’s always open to him.“