Bayern Munich’s seventeen-year-old starlet Mathys Tel arrived in the summer transfer window from Stade Rennais on a €30 million fee to fight for playing time. However, so far, he has not had many opportunities to prove himself.
Most recently, the youngster was subbed in for Leroy Sané on the right wing in the 58th minute in Bayern's Champions League win over Viktoria Pilsen, but while he was composed, as usual, he struggled to make an emphatic display. Sport1 asked — noting that he only had eighteen touches, zero one-on-one take-on victories, and zero shots on goal — was this due to his playing position?
Nevertheless, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann was full of praise for Tel after the game, saying that the youngster had worked “well” against the ball. Nagelsmann stated that Tel “likes to dribble” and that he sticks to his position.
“He is very hard-working defensively, which is not natural for his role as a striker, especially not at his age”, said Nagelsmann.
Perhaps that's part of the reason Tel appears to be so mature in the game every time he steps onto the field, and fans are certainly chomping at the bit to see him get more minutes — and more splashy highlights. That they didn't get too much this time might've had something to do with how the game was going by the time Tel was substituted on. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored the game’s final goal just after he got on the field, and Bayern cruised from that point on to their 5-0 win.
The game was “splashing along a bit,” said Bayern sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić. Bayern had “shifted down a few gears” to save some energy for Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday evening.
“Of course, he feels more comfortable in the middle,” Brazzo added — but the central attacking positions were occupied by Choupo-Moting and Serge Gnabry on this occasion. Even the left wing wasn’t available to Tel against Pilsen, as Sadio Mané played the full 90’ there.
”If he were to come in from the left, he could finish a bit better”, admitted Salihamidžić. But since Bayern are not merely a “training club”, as Sport1 put it, these types of cameos are understandable.
Mathys Tel is still extraordinarily young to be an established first-team player — at seventeen and in his very first year with the team. But he is already the youngest goalscorer in Bayern Munich’s history — and has scored both in the Bundesliga and in the DFB-Pokal — and showing glimpses of the kind of future he could have in Bavaria. If he remains persistent and patient with the club and himself, he will have his moments to shine. Incidentally, a great opportunity may come this Saturday, if only from the bench, in Der Klassiker...