Offensive jewel Florian Wirtz (17) has made the final breakthrough this season at Bayer Leverkusen – despite his young age: After 18 competitive games, the technician already has ten points (five goals, five assists) on the account. In the team led by Bayer coach Peter Bosz (56), Wirtz has long been one of the top performers.
The change of the youngster from 1. FC Köln to the Bundesliga competitor on the other side of the Rhine a year ago caused quite a bit of trouble among the Rhineland rivals. Subsequently, however, criticism of the FC officials at the time was also loud from the fan side, who had not managed to convince Wirtz to stay in Cologne.
Florian Wirtz: “ Leverkusen also wanted to get me back then”
Wirtz was discovered at the age of seven, at that time the offensive artist was still playing in Pulheim with Grün-Weiß Brauweiler. And not only the FC had noticed the exceptional talent at the time. “ Leverkusen also wanted to get me back then,” reveals Wirtz now.
The Bundesliga shooting star, who recently extended his contract in Leverkusen prematurely until 2023, further explains: “I didn’t want to leave Brauweiler and my friends. But my parents felt that a move would be good for me. At that time only FC was considered because it is closer to Cologne than to Leverkusen and I wanted to go to school in Brauweiler, ”said Wirtz looking back. Wirtz also remembers his first training session in the Cologne U8 team: “I was pretty shy, so I didn’t want to train at all at first and preferred to just watch.”
Wirtz can understand that his move to the Rhineland rival also caused upset. “I can understand that FC was disappointed and that the fans there are still angry,” he says, but also means: “I had to look at my future and my perspective, and when I look back it was the right decision. At FC I hadn’t even thought of the professionals at the time, that was a long way off. ”#Nevertheless, Wirtz is grateful for the time in Cologne:“ I’m very grateful to FC for the time at the performance center. ”
Nevertheless: For many FC fans, Wirtz remains the “50 million euro mistake”. Especially since the youngster recently impressively demonstrated to his training club how fast his rapid development has already progressed: In the latest derby swatter a week ago, Wirtz scored the 4-0 final point for Bayer with his second goal of the season against his training club.
A hit that should have been a particularly painful one for many FC supporters. (kos)
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