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Talented juniors seize their opportunity

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Talented juniors seize their opportunity

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:00 pm

"Kevin who?" Jupp Heynckes said with a mischievous grin. Naturally, the head coach knew perfectly well the name of the lad who fired a hat-trick for the Bayern first team on Tuesday evening. However, the gag flew over the head of a nearby reporter. "Friesenbichler," the journalist said, amusing Don Jupp: "If I'd signed him I'd have made him change his name."

Kevin Friesenbichler, an 18-year-old Austrian junior international, has spent the last two years with the Bayern junior team youth section. In the 11-0 victory over the Trentino regional side, he scored three goals, the same number as Arjen Robben. He also found the net four days earlier in the friendly against Ismaning. "He's a good lad with huge ability in front of goal," Heynckes commented, "although obviously, he has a great deal to learn about team play outside the box."

Another young lad made a good impression against Trentino both as a scorer and a provider. Oliver Markoutz, another Austrian junior international but only 17 and just entering his second year with FCB, scored twice and set up another goal. He too scored against Ismaning, as did fellow 17-year-old Benno Schmitz.

A total of seven hopefuls from the club's reserve and youth squads - the others are Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (16), Daniel Wein (18), Vladimir Rankovic (19), and David Vrzogic (22) - have been training with the first team since the start of pre-season two weeks ago. "They're doing outstanding work. Thanks to them, we've been able to run a very good training programme," enthused Heynckes, as the youngsters seize the opportunity presented by the absence of most of the club's Euro 2012 contingent.

Praise from the pros

"We'll be keeping a very close eye on them," the head coach continued, "these are talented players and need to be pushed accordingly." The boss has communicated his thoughts to the seven shooting stars personally. "He said the way we throw ourselves into training is super," reported Friesenbichler, "and the senior players are saying: keep it up! Hearing something like that is fantastic."

The young Austrian confessed to "huge respect" prior to his first session with the stars, "but now I think I fully belong and I feel like a team-mate." David Alaba has made it his job to look after the younger lads, because he is the most recent player to make the leap from the youths to the senior squad. And also "because he's a fellow Austrian. We stick together," grinned Friesenbichler.

Higher standards, fewer errors

Naturally, the established players act as role models. "You learn something from every one of them, the way Pizarro traps the ball and lays it off, Mandzukic's headers... these are world-class players," observed Friesenbichler. "They explain what you should be doing in certain situations," reported Markoutz. Training with the pros is much faster and focused than in the youth section, he reported: "The standard is much higher. The pros make fewer mistakes and are very composed on the ball."

Up until the senior squad takes off for China this Sunday, the seven youngsters will continue to pick up experience with the professionals. Tuesday evening's match was the highlight to date. "Playing for the first team is an unbelievable feeling," said Markoutz. And hat-trick hero Friesenbichler confessed it felt "just superb."
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