Ever wondered how far Bayern Munich players made it in school? No? Well too bad, TZ did a full compilation, and we’re gonna go through it. It’s not actually that interesting, but a few players do have degrees. Stay tuned to find out which.
#1: Paul Wanner
Wanner’s still in high school and considered a diligent student. He probably gets a lot of studying done while on the bench. Good on Nagelsmann for looking after his players’ education.
#2: Chris Richards
According to TZ, Chris Richards already has a college degree at age 18. WOW. Richards came through the FC Dallas academy, and had a scholarship at the University of North Carolina.
#3: Sven Ulreich
Here’s where something could get lost in translation. TZ’s article says Ulreich graduated with a middle school leaving certificate. Does that mean he skipped high school? Or does this make more sense in the original German? He’s apparently also completed a correspondence course in sports management.
Confusion clarified by ms82494 in the comments:
Re. Sven Ulreich: Yes, the German school system is stratified. From 5th grade on kids are separated based on academic aptitude into Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium. The first two typically lead to manual labor or clerical jobs, while Gymnasium ends with the Abitur (HS graduation), and admission to college. The graduation document of the Realschule is the Mittlere Reife, which Sven Ulreich achieved. By passing additional criteria (a completed apprenticeship and several years of relevant job experience) he was then able to qualify for admission at an accredited college and complete a degree in Sports Management.
#4: Tanguy Nianzou
Nianzou entered PSG’s academy when he was 14 and his educational details are unknown. You’d assume he was studying while pursuing his footballing career.
#5: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting
Choupo-Moting graduated high school from his hometown of Hamburg, Germany, where he also met his current wife. Aww, how nice.
#6: Jamal Musiala
Musiala studied in England for eight years and graduated from high school with a Business A-Level.
#7: Benjamin Pavard
Pavard apparently had to be driven a hundred kilometers four times a week to attend training at Lille’s academy. He eventually dropped out of school to pursue football full-time. Insane risk, but looks like it worked out for him.
#8: Dayot Upamecano
TZ tells us that Upamecano was bullied at school for stuttering. Poor guy. He says that the experience made him mentally stronger as a result.
#9: Marcel Sabitzer
Marcel Sabitzer attended the sports secondary school in Weiz, Austria, and signed his first pro-contract at the tender age of sixteen. You can see a pattern emerging here. Some of these guys got REALLY early starts.
#10: Alphonso Davies
Davies attended St. Nicholas Catholic High School in Edmonton, Canada, after his parents fled a civil war in their home country of Liberia. Apparently, they have a huge poster of the guy hanging in the school gym.
#11: Leon Goretzka
Goretzka stands out on this list because he graduated high school while already being a full professional at Schalke! TZ even calls it a double burden. Might give you an idea of how footballers tend to do in that regard.
#12: Kingsley Coman
Kingsley Coman spent nine years in the youth setup at PSG, skipping his final year of elementary school (you can do that???). In high school, he lost motivation and decided to focus completely on his football.
#13: Manuel Neuer
Bayern Munich captain Manuel Neuer attended secondary school before attending Berger Feld partial boarding school, which appears to be a training ground for future footballers. Players like Mesut Ozil, Sead Kolasinac, and Julian Draxler have also attended the same school.
Neuer eventually graduated in 2006 with a technical college entrance qualification.
#14: Lucas Hernandez
TZ provides us no info on Lucas’ schooling, instead telling us that he and his brother grew up without a father in their lives. According to the defender, their father never loved his children.
#15: Joshua Kimmich
Kimmich earns a unique spot on the list as we actually know what his grades were! In his Abitur, which is the German final school exam (if Wikipedia is to be believed), he had a 1.7 GPA, which is equivalent to an A in the US scoring system.
#16: Leroy Sane
Sane grew up in Bochum but attended school in Gelsenkirchen, graduating high school from Berger Feld Comprehensive School.
#17: Thomas Muller
TZ mentioned a Muller interview on Spox, so I went and tracked it down. Here it is, and it reveals a fascinating insight into his character and the journey he took to get where he is:
SPOX: What was your school highlight?
Thomas Muller: I graduated from high school — that was my absolute highlight.
SPOX: And everything without a lap of honor?
Muller: Completely normal in one go. But I was glad when the exams were over. When I was about to leave school, I was already in my second year in Bayern’s A-Jugend and the pressure was increasing from all sides. But luckily I stayed cool.
SPOX: Was there ever a question of dropping out of school and concentrating fully on football?
Muller: No, I definitely wanted to do my Abitur. At 18 or 19 you still have no idea whether you can really make it in football. Whether you can play in the Bundesliga or the 2nd division. When I finished school, I wanted to make sure I had something in my hands in case my football career didn’t pan out.
As you can see from this list, Muller’s choice isn’t something all footballers would make.
#18: Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is by far the most academically decorated player on the Bayern Munich squad, having actually completed a degree in Physical Education with coaching and management from Warsaw’s School of Education in sport. It took ten years for him to cross the finish line, with the thesis “RL9: Path to Glory” based on his own career. Per reports, he was given the highest possible grade by the university panel.
So there you have it, a comprehensive (well, maybe not so much) list of the academic qualifications of Bayern Munich’s squad. As someone who’s currently slogging through a fourth year in medical school, it’s a little shocking to see how many of these guys just kind of ... gave up on their education.
Yeah, they definitely had the talent to make it in the end, but what about all their peers who didn’t? Makes you wonder about the culture at these academies that churn out footballing talent — no one asks about the guys who fall through the cracks.