Bayern youth coach Holger Seitz talks about Jamal Musiala and Alphonso Davies breakthrough

  • Holger Seitz was sports director of FC Bayern Munich’s youth department and now coaches FC Bayern’s second team in the regional league.
  • In an exclusive interview with our editorial team, he talks about success stories Jamal Musiala and Alphonso Davies and too much luxury in the youth field.

Mr Seitz, youth work should FC Bayern Munich play a major role. Five talents were with the professionals in the training camp in Qatar. Arijon Ibrahimovic scored in the recent friendly against RB Salzburg a door. How far is FC Bayern positioned in terms of youth?

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Holger Seitz: I think the friendly match against Salzburg showed once again that we are in a very good position and that we are on the right track on campus. The challenge for young talent is to get used to the higher pace and higher level of athleticism. The jump from our U19s or U23s to the first team is very big because the best of the best play there. But our young players have the talent to adapt to the level.

Examples like David Alaba, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Müller in the past or currently Josip Stanisic, Angelo Stiller, Chris Richards, Niklas Dorsch or Christian Früchtl, among others, specify that our second team can be a good intermediate step. Of course, not everyone can do that. But there is also the success story of Jamal Musiala, who adapted very quickly and is one of the most successful among professionals.

Musiala played two games under you for Bayern fans in the summer of 2020. Was it already clear to you then that he had such exceptional skills that he could go straight to the pros?

We all believed him here on campus that he would make the breakthrough for us and be able to be in the starting XI at Bayern Munich. Jamal is an absolutely exceptional talent. But I’ll be honest: I could not have predicted at the time that he would get along so quickly in the Bundesliga and even in the Champions League.

Also Alphonse Davies, who is also one of the most successful players among the pros, played three games under you for FC Bayern’s second team. What made him stand out as an 18-year-old fresh from Canada and having played in MLS there?

Alphonso was supposed to acclimatize with us on and off the pitch and get to know FC Bayern Munich’s idea of ​​playing with a lot of ball possession. In my opinion, the fact that he was able to integrate very quickly on and off the football pitch also has something to do with his career as a whole. He emigrated with his family from his home in Africa to Canada and found himself there very quickly.

“Phonzie” is a really good guy with a very good character! He is very grounded, extremely down to earth and works very hard on himself. Plus, of course, he has great footballing quality.

Seitz: “The second team is absolutely necessary for us”

In recent years there has been a lot of talk about the meaning of a second team. Some clubs like RB Leipzig or Bayer Leverkusen have removed their second team. Not Bayern Munich. How important are fans to your club?

I already listed at the beginning which club legends later played for our fans for the first time. The second team is absolutely necessary for us. Playing with the U19s in the junior Bundesliga and with the second team in the Regionalliga are two completely different tasks. In the regional league, our young players meet scammed and experienced male football players from teams such as SpVgg Unterhaching or the Würzburger Kickers.

The head duel is completely different from that of the youth Bundesliga. It is also a good experience for our young players to play away games in front of many opposing fans and also to get to know the pressure that comes with it.

In the summer of 2019, you were promoted to the 3rd division with Bayern fans. The team even won the championship there a year later, but were relegated a season later. Is the return to the 3rd division still a medium-term objective?

It is our objective to always be on top and to return to the 3rd division. However, the path to get there is important to us. We don’t want to buy promotion by bringing in too many external and experienced players. With Timo Kern (the captain is 33, editor’s note) we only have one experienced player in the squad. All the other players are very young, could still evolve in U19 and were promoted very early to familiarize themselves with men’s football.

German football has had a problem for several years, especially at the centre-forward and full-back positions. Where do you see the reasons for this?

We have exciting players for these positions on campus, for example Ibrahimovic, who can play multiple positions in attack. We always have a centre-forward in the team, even in the younger years. But we have to keep developing these guys to become a real striker. It’s the same with the laterals.

However, it is obvious that there is a general lack of these types of players in Germany. There was a time when too many central midfielders were formed. We don’t exclude ourselves. But I think all youth clubs and academies have recognized the problem for a long time. I suspect that there will still be several good players in these positions in the coming years.

Centre-backs need to catch up

Are there other positions where Germany has some catching up to do?

Football Germany has also distinguished itself for many years by very strong central defenders in tackles. However, I have the feeling that central defenders have been given a lot of importance in recent years, especially when it comes to opening the game. It was basically a good thing because football has evolved.

But in my opinion, the core business of the central defender, namely defending and leading a straight one-on-one duel, has been lost a bit. Now it is important to focus more on this in training.

As sports director of the FC Bayern campus, you were also responsible for the personal development of young footballers. A common accusation is that too many young players are caught in the mix and hardly any real personality emerges. Do you understand this criticism?

Yes I can. If you look at what’s available to our young players overall, it’s very impressive. I speak from my own experience: as a young manager, you tend to provide players with the best possible environment so that they can fully concentrate on the game and develop further.

Today, I believe that this is not the right path. Less is sometimes more. In order to develop their personality, the boys must learn to deal with problems on their own – on and off the pitch. So it’s important as a coach to recognize when you need to help the players and when you don’t.

To no one :

Holger Seitz (Born 1974) played for Karlsruher SC, SV Darmstadt 98 and second team FC Bayern Munich during his playing days. Since 2015, he has held various positions in FC Bayern’s youth department. From 2019 to November 2022, he was sporting director of the youth department, before taking over again from Martin Demichelis as coach of the second team.

Ash Larson

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