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Lahm, Müller & Co.

From junior team hopefuls to household names

There are no matches, there’s no training, the bulk of the squad is away on international duty, and Bayern still dominate the Monday back pages. A glance at the Germany line-up for last Friday’s victory over Belgium shows a strong presence for Bayern – or more precisely, for the club’s junior team youth section. No fewer than five of the line-up emerged from the Bayern academy, a source of great pride at the club.

“Obviously, you’re delighted,” junior team director Werner Kern told “Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger have become absolute superstars whose names are recognised around the world. Thomas Müller was the rising star of the World Cup, and he and Holger Badstuber will continue to make their way in the game. And in the near or long term, Toni Kroos will be a regular. It's a fabulous testament to our youth development work.”

Unpredictable outcomes

Kern has closely followed the quintet’s progress since they were recruited to the club. Lahm and Müller joined the junior team aged 11, Schweinsteiger aged 13, Badstuber 14 and Kroos 16. However, warned Kern, their rapid ascents after leaving the youth section could never have been foreseen. “To a certain extent, you can basically predict which talented youngsters will make it in the Bundesliga, but no-one can tell you in advance whether a career will take off like Schweinsteiger or Lahm’s.”

For that to happen, a number of factors have to come together. Naturally, the foundation is talent, which then has to be shaped and nurtured. “Young players receive an excellent grounding at Bayern. All the junior team coaches make a contribution to our success,” Kern commented.