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‘I'm eternally grateful’

Basel coach Vogel, true son of Bayern

Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mats Hummels, Owen Hargreaves, Markus Babbel, Christian Nerlinger and Klaus Augenthaler are just a tiny handful of the former Bayern youth products who have made it big in the pro ranks. However, this season marks a first for the world-renowned and highly successful junior section at Germany's biggest club. For the first time, a coach rather than a player nurtured by Munich’s junior team has made it to the highest levels of the game. On Wednesday, he will watch his FC Basel side take on Bayern in the Champions League. His name is Heiko Vogel.

“It's definitely a surprise to see a man whose origins are in youth development end up as head coach at a club as successful as FC Basel. It can only happen if he possesses genuine quality," FCB junior team boss Werner Kern, one of the first to appreciate Vogel’s talent and potential, told

Palatinate-born Vogel, by his own admission a lifelong Bayern fan, was hired by Kern in 1998. Injury curtailed Vogel’s own playing career when he was just 22 and appearing in the third division, after which he studied sports science at Munich Technical University. “Heiko was recommended to me, and after speaking to him, I was certain he was a good guy," recalled Kern. Vogel took over the FCB U-10 juniors, moving on to the U-13, U-15 and U-17 in the course of the following nine years.