Bayern Munich was in an interesting spot with its backline against FC Viktoria Plzeň in the Champions League on Wednesday.
With Alphonso Davies and Lucas Hernandez both out, Bayern Munich was already down to its third-string left-back in Josip Stanišić. To complicate matters, center-back Matthijs de Ligt was also injured, which left manager Julian Nagelsmann to start a back-four consisting of Josip Stanišić and Noussair Mazraoui at the outside-back positions, while Benjamin Pavard and Dayot Upamecano played as center-backs.
As the game went on, Upamecano was subbed out, Stanišić shifted in to play center-back...and 16-year-old wunderkind Paul Wanner was brought in to play left-back. Wanner, of course, is a natural attacking midfielder, which could have caught some fans off-guard.
For Nagelsmann, Wanner’s willingness to play a spot where might not be totally comfortable is a sign of great attitude in a youngster — who also acquitted himself finely on the pitch.
“Paul is not a natural left-back, but he’s already done well in that position in training. I think he did well in the game too,” Nagelsmann said (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).
If you have seen Wanner play or least clips on some of his exploits, you would know he is a creative and dynamic presence who is dangerous around the net. Most theorize that Wanner can be a No. 10, but others think he can play as a winger or as a No. 8.
Where the 2005-born player ultimately settles at Bayern Munich remains to be seen, and odds are that it will not ultimately be as a left-back.
One thing is certain, however, and it is that Wanner has tantalizing talent — and all the makings of Bayern’s next youth breakthrough.
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