Professionals | 25/01/2021

How did they get there?

U19s looking ahead to Youth League draw

After a superb season curtailed by the COVID pandemic, 1. FC Köln’s place in the UEFA Youth League was confirmed by a draw. Here is how the under-19s secured a spot in Europe’s premiere youth competition.

1. FC Köln’s under-19s were two points clear of the chasing pack at the top of the under-19 Bundesliga West division before the pandemic took hold. Stefan Ruthenbeck’s side were holding off Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen heading into the final stretch. Having scored an impressive 55 goals in 20 matches, Daniel Adamczyk and his defence recorded 13 clean sheets and just nine goals conceded. The 18-year-old goalkeeper was well on course to break the record for most clean sheets in a season, had things not been brought to a halt.

After the decision had been made to bring the entire season to a halt, FC were left waiting for confirmation as to what would happen next. How would the place in the Youth League be decided? The DFB placed FC, Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich into the hat and the team drawn out would have the final spot. Thankfully, FC's hard work was rewarded with the luck of the draw and a place in the Youth League was set.

Who to look out for?

Jan Thielmann, Tim Lemperle, Robert Voloder and Sava-Arangel Cestic will need no introduction to FC fans. The quartet, along with Marvin Obuz, Meiko Sponsel and Jacob Jansen, have already played for the first-team, been part of the Matchday squad or are regularly seen on Platz 1 as part of Markus Gisdol’s training group. They were part of the team that secured top spot last season.

The squad will look slightly different come March but the above names show that it’s more than worth keeping an eye on who features under Ruthenbeck. Obuz is also still eligible for the under-19s. He featured in all four league games up until the latest COVID-19 break. Jens Castrop was with the FC first-team for large stretches of pre-season, while Schwirten and Sponsel have been with the under-21s along with Obuz.

Philipp Wydra represents an attacking threat from midfield, having scored 17 goals in 16 games for the under-17s last season. Justin Diehl is an exciting 16-year-old forward with pace and a powerful shot. At the back, Yusuf Örnek is another player who has risen up through the ranks to become a key figure. Jonas Urbig is a Germany under-17 international and has been part of the under-18 set-up, having been with FC since he was nine. 

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