Although much of the youth hype on this blog has been devoted to BVB’s U19 team, their successful season winning the Deutsche Meisterschaft, and the budding bromance of Christian Pulisic and Felix Passlack, it’s important not to forget that success at BVB is a top-down affair.
Today at 6 pm CEST (12 pm EDT), the U17 team will play against VfB Stuttgart in the semi-finals of their own bid for the Deutsche Meisterschaft. You might immediately be asking yourself, "but wait, I thought the U17 team already won a title this season?" You’re not wrong; they secured the Western Conference championship with an emphatic 8-2 win against Fortuna Düsseldorf last Sunday. Today’s game, however, is part of the four-team tournament for the national championship that will also see Bayer Leverkusen play against VfL Wolfsburg at the same time.
In competing for their third national title, the BVB U17 will look to the U19 team for inspiration according to coach Benjamin Hoffmann, "[they] showed that it doesn’t matter who, when, and how we compete, especially when there’s no advantage for away-goals…what is most important is to control our opponents and raise our game accordingly." Wise words indeed.
If they are successful in the two legs against VfB Stuttgart and the subsequent final, then it will be the first time in the current structure of the youth leagues that one team holds both the U19 and U17 title, which is quite a big deal. But Stuttgart aren't exactly push-overs, having earlier beaten Bayern Munich 3:2 to win the South/Southwest Conference.
Nonetheless expectations are high and we’re confident the Jungs can get the job done.
Bonus: even Kevin Großkreutz (formerly at BVB, currently playing for Stuttgart) is looking forward to today’s game