Round-Up: Player of the Month – November

The November of 2018 was no easy month for FC Bayern. The disappointing performances in the Bundesliga against Freiburg and Düsseldorf did not make the selection of the Player of the Month easy. Author: Martin • Translator: Dennis

But does the choice have to go to a player of the first team? Not necessarily! Since the reserve of FC Bayern were not too successful in November either, we found a suitable candidate in the Under-19s: Joshua Zirkzee.

Central attack is not only a problem position in men’s football. Also in the youth teams there is a lack of the right player types for this position in many age groups. FC Bayern, for example, currently only have a classic centre forward in the Under-19s and Under-14s, while the Under-17s, Under-16s and Under-15s fill this position with players who feel more comfortable in midfield or on the wings.

At the opening of the training in July 2017, the then Under-17s coach Holger Seitz welcomed a 16-year-old trial player. Joshua Zirkzee from Feyenoord Rotterdam introduced himself on Säbener Straße. It quickly became clear that he was not only able to keep up in training, but that he also stood out in the already well-staffed class of 2001. In the end, FC Bayern prevailed in the courting of the young Dutchman against prestigious competition from England.

German runner-up with the U17

Approximately two months after the signing of the contract at the end of August 2017, the official game permit finally arrived. At a time when Holger Seitz’s team had already taken the lead. But Zirkzee immediately became a regular and pushed Hollerbach and Seitz, who had previously acted as centre forward, to the outer positions. Zirkzee was immediately able to take over the responsibility left behind by Oliver Batista Meier, who had been promoted to the Under-19s.

Player of the Month November: Joshua Zirkzee
(Photo: Josef Bollwein – Sepa Media/Bongarts/Getty Images)

At the end of the season, his record included 16 goals and 9 assists in 19 games. Also in the final of the German championship against Borussia Dortmund he scored spectacularly for an temporary equalizer, but shortly before the end of the game he was ejected after an altercation.

USA trip with the first team and the Under-19s

From the beginning of the summer, the 17-year-old Zirkzee was a regular guest in the first team training under Niko Kovač. In the test match against Paris St. Germain, he even scored a goal, although it should not be forgotten that the French almost exclusively played with youth players. In the Under-19s, however, he had to sit at the beginning of the season, as the red card in the championship final resulted in a suspension for four games.

The previous season had already shown that Sebastian Hoeneß’s idea for the game was strongly geared towards the central striker’s goal finishes. In his first matches in the Bundesliga and Youth League, the Dutch young talent was rarely able to convince. In the past, he was physically superior to his opponents, but now he has to deal with defenders who are physically better equipped to hold their own.

As a result, the time for clean ball processing decreased and technical deficiencies resulted in turnovers faster than in previous years. At the same time, he was not so precise in front of the goal and missed an unusually large number of chances.

Improvement in November

But in November, he succeeded in unfolding his full potential in the Under-19s as well. Especially his flawless hat trick at the away game in Karlsruhe caused a sensation. He was able to improve in ball processing, taking the ball with him and finishing the goal. With seven goals and three assists in six games, he earned the title of Player of the Month.

The Dutchman fulfils all the requirements placed on a centre forward in modern football. This includes height (1.93m) and strengths in the game with the back to the goal. In the Under-17s performance tests, he led the team’s internal table on three of the four sprint distances measured. His ambidexterity is also impressive. While he scored the most goals with his left foot from open play , he also converted two free kicks with his right foot.

Due to a lack of players in the reserve team, he has been in the Regional Liga (fourth division) twice. It was impressive to see how well he was able to immediately set the tone in the offensive on his men’s debut. He also set up Otschi Wriedt’s equaliser against FC Pipinsried.

Joshua Zirkzee is currently one of the most promising talents on the FC Bayern campus. It is hard to imagine that he will spend another season in the Under-19s next season. Especially since Otschi Wriedt will probably push for a transfer to the second division and the central striker position in the reserves would be vacant.

It will be decisive for Zirkzee’s further development to be confronted with better and better opponents. So that he can grow with the challenges. Just as he succeeded so excellently in the past month. Due to this strong development in recent weeks, he is our Player of the Month for November in 2018.

Links of the Week

Bayern Munich’s Niko Kovac is losing the battle to prove he’s the right fit as manager | Raphael Honigstein | ESPN

Säbener Semmelschmarrn: Crunch time for Kovač? | Rick Joshua | Red Ramblings

The five goals in nine minutes that saw Robert Lewandowski break multiple records | Tom Scholes | These Football Times

The essence of possession | Tobias Hahn | The False Fullback

Jupp Heynckes: the methods and mind behind Bayern Munich’s loyal innovator | Edd Norval | These Football Times

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