GOA: On a historic night, when India made their first World Cup appearance, Germany were busy looking for the next Neuers, Kloses and Schweinsteigers, at a closed training session, away from the cameras and crowd.
Age-group tournaments are their exposure trips, to test next-gen stars, even if it’s an U-17 World Cup. Those who will fail to shine will be filtered and the best will win them the World Cup, their ultimate target.
For the Germans, it’s a constant process.
It’s the feeding line that has provided the likes of Mario Goetze, whose goal earned them a fourth World Cup in 2014. They have also won the Confederations Cup and U-21 Euro in recent years. There was a period when they failed to win titles, but even then, they were always in the top four or thereabouts. It goes without saying that they have the strongest bench and a never-ending supply line.
But what has made the Die Mannschaft so affluent? Is it infrastructure or passion for the sport? It’s not just any of these two. It runs deeper than that. Germany’s success is based on the collaboration of the clubs, which are responsible for nurturing budding players, and the national football set-up. Four players of the present U-17 side already practise with the seniors.
“The work between clubs and the national team is very important in Germany. We only get the players for six to seven times a year. That’s not how you can prepare for the World Cup.
So, the clubs are responsible to grow them and feed them to the national team. It’s like a duty,” said Christian Wuck, Germany U-17 coach.
“Our first aim is to develop the players for the A team. We start at U-15 and our work has the one aim that in five to six years they can play for Joachim Low.”
The titles on the way are accolades that assure they are on the right path. Wuck said his team must follow the U-21 side that produced results on the way to their senior team call-up. “The A team and U-21 are role models. Every member of my team wants to play in two or three years in the A team. I think maybe around six of them can be in the U-21 or A team in two-three years.”
On Saturday, there will be thousands of supporters, who will witness a Jann-Fiete Arp becoming another Gotze. That’s what Germany guarantees.