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Final versus Schalke

Bayern under-19s aim for title glory

Bayern’s senior youth side, the under-19s, are aiming for glory in the final of the German youth championship against Schalke on Sunday morning. The mood in the dressing room is good, the sense of anticipation high, and all the players are fit. “We’re all confident of winning it,” said captain Fabian Hürzeler ahead of the showdown at the Stimberg stadium in Oer-Erkenschwick in the Ruhr Valley.

“It would be great to round off our outstanding season with a win,” said coach Kurt Niedermayer, whose team comfortably won the U-19 Bundesliga South/South-West by six points. FCB only conceded 24 goals in their 26 league fixtures, and remained undefeated throughout the second half of the season, when they took 35 of a possible 39 points. Niedermayer’s side beat Hertha BSC 4-2 on aggregate in the semi-finals, “and now we want to ice the cake on a highly successful campaign,” the coach said.

The Munich U-19s have contested their age group final six times in the past, winning three in 2001, 2002 and 2004, and losing three, most recently to Bayer Leverkusen in 2007. FCB fell 2-1 to Schalke the previous year, but Niedermayer brushed aside all talk of a revenge mission. “I’m not thinking like that. It’s a new challenge for us,” said the 56-year-old, “my only regret is that the final isn’t in Munich”.

Instead, the winners of the Bundesliga West were drawn to play at home, which could well prove an advantage, the coach conceded. But Niedermayer believes his team are well prepared to cope with “compact opponents, with a good and dangerous forward line. Overall, Schalke have a very well-balanced team,” Niedermayer concluded.

Neither team starts as favourites

However, the FCB U-19 team are brimming with confidence after their excellent second half of the campaign “We don’t really have to orientate ourselves on our opponents,” commented Niedermayer, “we want to impose our style on the game, so Schalke have to adapt to us.” The plan is to play off a solid defensive platform, control possession in midfield, “and we’re always good for a goal up front.”