What do David Alaba, Holger Badstuber, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Owen Hargreaves and Sammy Kuffour have in common? They all made it to the big time as graduates of the Bayern junior team. All five spent many of their formative years at the Säbener Strasse youth academy.
The apartment block adjacent to head office was constructed in 1990 at the same time as the former professionals’ quarters. The facility accommodates up to 14 players aged from 15 to 18, whose home towns are too far away from Munich for the daily commute to training. There are also guest rooms for young trialists. A common room on the top floor features a kitchen and a games room. A team of up to eleven tutors is available to help with school work in the afternoons.
The academy has been managed since 2007 by Gertrud Wanke, who is effectively a kind of 'substitute mama' for the talented hopefuls. She wakes the youngsters and prepares their breakfast buffet, but also takes care of the players’ greater or lesser difficulties insofar as she is able. She is assisted by qualified youth worker and tutor Andreas Kronenberg, specifically tasked with helping the lads make productive use of their free time.
The junior team administrative offices are located on the ground floor of the building, centred on the office maintained by Wolfgang Dremmler, director of the club’s youth and reserve sections. The complex also features a conference room with modern communication equipment. The room is used for meetings and presentations, and the coaching staff’s computer-based analyses. The academy provides a perfect foundation for the careful nurturing of talented young players seeking to follow in the footsteps of Alaba, Schweinsteiger & Co.