Review: Müller, Gnabry and Goretzka visit FCB Campus
"There it is," Thomas Müller said with his typical smile. But this time the 30-year-old did not present silverware at Munich's Marienplatz but a signed jersey at his "Wall of Fame" at the FC Bayern Campus. The Bayern veteran, who recently extended his stay until 2023, stood in front of his oversized cutout in the entrance hall of the FC Bayern Akademie. FCB's youth academy honours players like Müller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm or Alaba, who came up through the club's youth ranks and went on to become role models and world stars in the first team.
"Good luck," "Mia san Mia" and "confidence" were the words Thomas Müller wrote down on the jersey that was attached to his wall. The words were meant for his successors in FC Bayern's youth teams, who he visited in October 2019. A few weeks later his team-mates Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka dropped by the Campus. They all took part in the dressing room talks, staged for the first time.
Müller, Gnabry and Goretzka visit U-15s, U-17s and U-16s
The pros' visits to the Campus were part of mental coaching workshops led by sports psychologist Christian Luthardt. "The project is focused on mental health. The idea was to have first team players for frank talks in the dressing room so that the youth players don't just listen to a talk but experience it in reality," said the 40-year-old. U-17s coach Miroslav Klose approached Müller, Gnabry and Goretzka, who were part of the first project ro combine pros and youth players in Campus history.
"We chatted, we had intense talks. The lads came up with some really good questions. It went into detail," Müller commented following his dressing room talk with the U-15s, coached by Peter Wenninger. Gnabry thought it was a good experience "to give young players some advice, as others had done for me."
Longstanding youth coach Peter Wenninger, in charge of the sections from the U-9s to the U-15s, knows the decisive factors in working with young talents.
'We're more than just footballers'
Mental health is one of the absolute priorities at the Campus. "I think it's great the lads get advice, that there's groundwork to make sure they handle it correctly," said Goretzka, who talked to the U-16s coached by Alexander Moj. Luthardt, who chaired the dressing room talks, identified a core message all three pros communicated: "That they're more than just footballers." It's not only Wenninger who thinks it is essential to strengthen the character of young talents at FC Bayern Campus, in addition to preparing them in terms of football: "Whether you make it to the very top is decided by your head, by your mentality."