Under-17s have to bear high expectations
They will be coached by Holger Seitz, the previous manager of the under-19s. The man from Lower Bavaria will take over last year’s under-16s, who finished the season not just as the best Bavarian under-16 team, but also finished ahead of FC Ingolstadt’s under-17s in the table. If the team had gotten more points in the tight games, even more would have been possible, however. They only won two games by a single goal, and threw away countless unnecessary points against teams from the bottom third of the table. Seitz will have to teach the team how to profit more directly from their game dominance.
That was only slightly successful in pre-season, with the team slumping to dead last without a goal scored in the star-studded Bundesliga Cup in Öhringen. There were, however, also middling to good results, among those a 1-1 against RB Leipzig and a thoroughly-deserved 2-0 over Bayer Leverkusen. In the final friendly the team lost 3-2 to Hertha BSC. Still, they were without four key players (Kehl, Stiller, Daniliuc, Batista-Meier) who were travelling with the under-19s in the Ruhrcup. Coach Seitz recently criticised the team’s lack of bite, which will be necessary to achieve their lofty aims.
In goal, Seitz has the choice between Lukas Schneller and Jakob Mayer. Schneller was number one for the under-16s last season and has the same number on his shirt this season. However, Jakob Mayer was between the sticks in both of the final pre-season games, and so it’s very possible that Seitz will make a different decision to the one made by Danny Schwarz, in charge of the under-16s last season. In the back four, youth internationals Jonas Kehl and Flavius Daniliuc, out wide and central respectively, are staples of the team. Alongside Daniliuc, Yannick Brugger and Julian Höllen are battling for the available place. Out wide, the left-back Kimberly Ezekwem seems to have his nose ahead of Favian Cavadias, with the latter a right-back. Jonas Kehl will switch sides accordingly.
Alongside captain Angelo Stiller, Moritz Mosandl will be trusted by the manager in central midfield. The Frenchman, who joined from Nürnberg in 2016, was born in 2002 and so is the youngest player in a team that, beyond Malik Tillmann, otherwise consists only of 2001-borns. With four positions left in attack, a lot will depend on where Holger Seitz decides to put Batista-Meier. Jahn Herrmann, Marvin Cuni, Benedict Hollerbach, Malik Tillman and Justin Butler will battle for the remaining three positions, five players who all have designs on a starting place. Then there’s also Jaleen Hawkins, supposedly the biggest attacking talent of the year group, who almost missed the entire season with a ruptured ligament and so missed an entire year of development. The author tends towards Cuni, Hollerbach and Tillman having their noses just ahead of the rest.
What we can expect from the under-17s
If you speak to the higher-ups at FC Bayern, they’re expecting a rather more difficult season for the new under-17s. The fact that Holger Seitz’s under-19 teams have often needed a bit of time to reach their best form also speaks to that. On top of that, the higher quality in the Bundesliga will give the team more tight games in which they’ll need to show that they’re not just flat-track bullies but can also beat the competition on the same level as them. If they can do that better than last season, the team could find themselves back in the top three.
If not, the fall to the depression of mid-table is a quick one. However, in Batista-Meier Bayern have probably the outstanding attacker of the 2001 year group nationwide. He alone can decide games with his individual quality. The top third of the table should, then, be within reach. The teams from Stuttgart and Hoffenheim can be expected to be the strongest in this age group too, with both being faced at the very end of the first half of the season. The start of the season will be important for the team: lots of points from the first thoroughly-doable games will get them the confidence to be able to pass the test against the top teams later in the season.
How things are going with the younger sides
Bayern’s under-16s won’t start the season until the beginning of September, and as a result of their summer holidays are in the middle of an interruption to their preparation. The under-15s too, who have unbelievable strength in terms of quality and quantity, will have to wait until next month. Peter Wenninger’s team started their pre-season with the opening of the campus, and have already impressed in their first two friendlies against Darmstadt 98 (4-1) and league competitors Deggendorf (12-1). It’s already foreseeable that the under-15s will be very under-challenged in the new Bavarian regional league, and so will contest a lot of high-quality friendlies and tournaments to enable match practice at a high level. Downwards from the under-15s Bayern have managed a lot of interesting transfers which promise an exciting season. Some have already been covered by the press, others meanwhile have only been noted by the experts. In September we’ll update you on how the academy teams get started in the new season!