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Salihamidzic promises roster spots for top youth talents

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Bayern Munich pledges to make good its objective to cultivate home-grown talents.

Manuel Wintzheimer of Bayern Muenchen in action during the Audi Cup 2017 match between SSC Napoli and FC Bayern Muenchen at Allianz Arena on August 2, 2017 in Munich, Germany.
Manuel Wintzheimer in action during the Audi Cup 2017 match between SSC Napoli and FC Bayern Muenchen at Allianz Arena on August 2, 2017.
Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

Speaking to Sky Sports (via SportBild) prior to Bayern Munich’s home game against Hertha Berlin, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic reiterated Bayern’s goal of training home-grown youth talents for the first team. Salihamidzic even said that Bayern would reserve one or two first-team roster spots for talented youngsters:

We have good youngsters, but with the quality on our roster it’s difficult. But I have told the players and coaches that we’ll always have one or two spots on the roster that we’ll keep open for top talents. Of course, they have to be really good.

Currently, Bayern’s official first-team roster lists five members of the Bayern II squad: goalkeeper Christian Früchtl, defender Felix Götze, defensive midfielder Niklas Dorsch, attacking midfielder Fabian Benko, and striker Manuel Wintzheimer, aged 18-20. None of them, however, have played for the first team this season.

Jan Mauersberger of 1860 Muenchen and Kwasi Okyere Wriedt of Bayern Muenchen battle for the ball during the match between TSV 1860 Muenchen and Bayern Muenchen II at Stadion an der Grünwalder Straße on October 22, 2017 in Munich, Germany.
Kwasi Okyere Wriedt in action.
Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

But there are some performers in the Regionalliga Bayern who appear promising. Striker Kwasi Wriedt (aged 23) is the team's leading scorer, with 10 goals and 4 assists in 14 games. He also notably played briefly in Bayern's 2:1 loss to Mönchengladbach in November and the DFB Pokal win over Leipzig in October.

Wintzheimer has played in just 5 Bayern II games after moving up from the junior team, but already has contributed four goals. Winger Milos Pantovic has 7 goals and 3 assists to his name, while Benko has 4 goals and 6 assists. 19-year-old American Timothy Tillman has also impressed, scoring 4 goals and logging 4 assists in 18 games.

David Alaba, the last Bayern youngster to make the first team—excepting Mitchell Weiser briefly before departing for Hertha Berlin—singled out Marco Friedl and Christian Früchtl:

There are really good players: Marco Friedl, to took a big leap forward in his development last year and has now been loaned to Werder Bremen. We also have a great talent in goal with Christian Früchtl: he’s 18 years old, offers everything that a goalkeeper needs. He can achieve much and has the best teacher there is in Manuel Neuer. I hope that someone follows soon and relieves me as the last talent to come from our own youth.