India are set to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup which is scheduled to start in October. The tournament will take place in six cities in India in between October 6-28. The final will be played at the iconic Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on October 28.
For the first time in history, India will be hosting an international tournament of this magnitude and thus understandably the excitement levels in the country are at its peak. Ahead of the grand tournament, Goal gives you information about European giants Germany's U-17 side.
INTRODUCTION: Die Mannschaft
Confederation: UEFA (Europe)
Nicknames: Die Mannschaft, DFB-Elf, Nationalelf
Coach: Christian Wuck
Germany are one of the giants of world football. They have been a traditional powerhouse and are known to produce some of the biggest names in world football. This obviously gives us the key that they are known to nurture the youth talents in the best possible ways in the world. Even though the Germans' record at the competition has never been up to the mark, they have got some quality players who have 'made their bones' in this particular tournament.
The most notable name which comes to our mind from recent times is Real Madrid midfield star Toni Kroos, whose rise to fame came during the FIFA U-17 World 2007. Kroos was the best player of the tournament and won the Golden Ball award. He scored 5 goals in the tournament and had also bagged the Bronze Shoe prize.
A PEEK INTO THE PAST
Even though, the senior German national team have won the competition on 4 occasions, the FIFA U-17 World Cup still remains elusive.
The mighty Germans have never achieved ultimate glory in this tournament. The had finished fourth at the FIFA U-17 Championship in 1997 and finished third at the U-17 World Cup 2007 and 2011. Even at the U-17 European championship this year they lost to eventual champions Spain in the final.
ROAD TO THE WORLD CUP
The German U-17 side took part in the U-17 UEFA European Championship in 2017 held in Croatia. They were placed in Group C along side Republic of Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Ther Germans won three matches to qualify for the quarterfinals with 9 points. At the last 8 stage, they took on Netherland and got better of them winning the tie 2-1. Reaching the semis guaranteed their berth at the U-17 World Cup. Unfortunately they lost to eventual champions Spain in the semi-final in penalty shootout. Germany's Jann-Fiete Arp was the second highest goal scorer at the Euros (7 goals).
TEAM COACH AND STYLE OF PLAY
The U-17 side is managed by 44-year-old German manager Christian Wuck. Wuck had represented the Germany U-21 side for 13 times. Even though his playing career was not worth flaunting, Wuck has been a big name in coach.
The manager has been in charge of the youth teams of the country since 2012. He has managed Germany's U-16 and U-17 sides. Germany are known to play attacking free flowing football and their youth team is not different. Known to be one of the attacking powerhouses of world football, their ideology has always been attack centric. The U-17 side has played quality football so far. German fans in India can be rest assured that juniors will definitely entertain them with the traditional German style.
During the U-17 Euros, coach Wuck had spoken to the media regarding his team's style where he said: "In terms of attacking play, this is the best group of players I've ever had during my time working in youth football.
"We set a new scoring record and still managed to concede the joint-fewest goals alongside England. And when it comes to attacking, these guys, who were born in 2000, have unbelievable speed and a good scoring record. Now they're all raring to go at the World Cup, they can't wait. One thing is clear: this squad has got what it takes to win a title and we'll give it another go in India."
Let us share a small information which will give the fans an idea about just how good this German side is. The Germany U-17 team scored a record 17 goals in 5 matches and conceded just 2 during the Euros this year. Their biggest win came against Republic of Ireland which they had won 7-0 where their best player Jann-Fiete Arp scored a hat-trick.
Thus, even though they were ousted from the semis, this side has the potential to go all out in the competition in India and win the coveted title.
THE DANGER MAN - PLAYER TO LOOK OUT FOR
As we had mentioned earlier in the article that Toni Kroos, one of the best midfielders in the world right now was a product of the U-17 World Cup. He had won the Golden at the 2007 edition. Current PSG custodian Kevin Trapp was also a part of the German squad at the 2007 World Cup.
The key players to keep an eye on in this edition are :
Jann-Fiete Arp – The 17-year-old was arguably the best performer in the German side during the U-17 Euro Championship in Croatia. The Hamburger SV cadet came to limelight this year after he scored two hat-tricks for his national side in 4 matches during the competition. The forward has been a regular starter for Hamburg in the youth league. He has scored 36 goals in 44 matches for the club's U-17 side. All eyes will be definitely stuck to Jann-Fiete Arp who will be ready to flaunt his skills at the biggest stage and make a name for himself in the world of football.
Florian Baak - This 18-year-old defender is already a part of the Hertha BSC senior side and has played 2 matches for the side in the Bundesliga. He has been playing youth football at the club since 2006. Baak was promoted to the senior side last season. Florian Baak will play a crucial role at the heart of the defence for the German side at the FIFA World Cup 2017.