After two years with the Bayern Munich reserves and a few appearances for the senior squad, midfielder Niklas Dorsch moved to 2. Liga side FC Heidenheim in May 2018 on a free transfer. The 21-year old spent 6 years (2012-2018) of his youth career at Bayern, but only made 1 appearance for the senior squad in the 2017/2018 campaign under Jupp Heynckes in a 4-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, a match in which he scored.
In a recent interview with SportBild, Dorsch said he feels that more fringe players in Bayern’s system should play in the 2. Liga. His has zero regret over his personal decision to leave Bayern for Heidenheim:
Not a second! Leaving Bayern was absolutely the right decision. I definitely wanted out, even though I learned a lot in my time there. I played in only this one Bundesliga game at Bayern [April 24, 2018, 4-1 vs Frankfurt] and still the message was that I should extend my contract. But I told the front office, “No, not a chance.” In the years before, I didn’t receive this chance. So it was clear to me that I wanted to do something different.
At Bayern, Dorsch felt like he never got a fair chance to be a consistent figure in the senior squad. Rather, he felt that he was only viewed as a reserve player, even in the 2017/2018 season when Bayern had already clinched the Bundesliga title with weeks to spare:
Yes, seen over the long term, I never got a fair chance at Bayern in my view. I wasn’t allowed to play in the Bundesliga as a youth player until the championship was already certain and they wanted to spare a some established players.
While Dorsch has not ruled at a return to Bayern completely, he feels that more players who are in a similar situation should take the opportunity to play in the 2. Liga or at lower-table Bundesliga club to take the next step in their career. He doesn’t want to see players struggling to break into Bayern’s first team spend too long playing in the reserves, when they could be gaining valuable experience elsewhere, particularly in the 2. Liga:
One thing I’d wish is that other FC Bayern youth players see from my example that there are other ways to advance. What’s the point of playing for five or six years on the second team of Bayern and not advancing? That’s not the way. There are more than enough world champions of training. Nowadays Bayern talents have to take the step into the 2. Liga.
There much more opportunity in the 2. Liga, Dorsch feels, compared to continuing on as a reserve player at Bayern, or any other top Bundesliga club, for that matter:
There the opportunity to gain playing practice constantly with the pros is simply much greater for a youth player than at a Bundesliga club. And often one or two good years in the 2. Liga suffice, and then you take the next step to the Bundesliga.