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Germany’s “Meet Market”: How recruiting works within Die Mannschaft

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Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, along with Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus and Julian Brandt, are the top headhunters for Manchester City’s Leroy Sane and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz on Germany’s national team.

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In an interesting piece by Abendzeitung, the publication examined how players on Germany’s national team did some networking and recruiting over the course of recent international breaks.

With so much focus on the seemingly imminent transfers of Manchester City’s Leroy Sané and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz, the international break for Germany sometimes might feel more like a sales conference than a sporting excursion.

Regarding Sané, Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka absolutely made a personal pitch to his former Schalke 04 teammate Sane:

I showed him that Bayern would be a good move for him.

Goretzka’s teammate Joshua Kimmich also admitted that he has attempted to lure Sane to Bavaria via WhatsApp. Kimmich joked that Sane had grown weary of his recruiting messages: Kimmich said, “He doesn’t answer me anymore.”

The recruiting can also work the other way, as well. Some players try to prevent their current teammates from making a move. Manchester City’s İlkay Gündoğan indicated that he wants to ensure that Sané stays with him in England:

Leroy likes me a lot and wants to enjoy partnering with me for a few more years.

For Havertz, we covered the tag-team effort of Marco Reus and Julian Brandt — who himself was recruited by Reus to join BVB — to bring the 20-year-old star to Borussia Dortmund. Havertz and Brandt are close friends, while Reus carries a ton if weight in the Germany locker room. Reus said:

I’ll try everything to steer him to Dortmund.

If anyone thinks that this is a non-issue for clubs, you are mistaken. Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc quickly pushed out a quote essentially telling Reus to get his attention back on the task at hand — helping BVB attempt to win the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, and the Champions League:

Everyone involved is well advised to focus on the current season.

Kimmich, though, was not about to let Havertz think the Bavarian fraction of Germany’s locker room was not interested in him. Kimmich has judged Havertz to be “one for Bayern”:

He has an awesome feeling for space, fantastic ball control, and great vision.

Still, Kimmich acknowledged that the decision is out of his hands, admitting, “I cannot buy him.”

Be that as it may, it is no secret that players will always use their time with the national team to try to help out their club by recruiting friends or other talented teammates. How successful the pitches to Sané and Havertz will ultimately be remains to be seen, but as the old adage goes: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”