By now, Bayern Munich fans have heard the same frustrated statement a lot: Bayern has not brought enough youth players through the academy. Bayern has been starved of outstanding academy graduates for many, many years now and even fewer have managed to make their way to the first team.
Therefore, Uli Hoeneß’ comments on the matter are hardly surprising. Speaking to Sport Bild, as captured by @iMiaSanMia, Hoeneß bemoaned the club’s failure with the youth academy. “It’s very clear that we didn’t promote enough young talents into the first team. Even in our time, we didn’t manage that well - all of us, Karl-Heinz and I. We have to do a better job there.”
But how can Bayern “do a better job?”
Contrary to popular belief, Bayern’s youth academy has actually been churning out a lot of talented young players since 2017. Youth academy graduates like Angelo Stiller, Niklas Dorsch and Grant-Leon Ranos, who have proven themselves good enough to play in the Bundesliga, are evidence of this. But the club has failed to provide any of its’ talented players a proper pathway.
Another thing Stiller, Dorsch and Ranos have in common is that they left Bayern for free, searching for better opportunities elsewhere. Augsburg stalwart Dorsch even went on record to complain about how Bayern failed to give youth players opportunities. That is the first thing Bayern must fix. Young players must be given clear plans and a reason to believe staying at Bayern will help, not hinder, their careers.
Another thing Bayern must improve are the loans. Bayern’s choice of loans are baffling, with players consistently being loaned out to teams that simply do not suit their style, loans being consistently being cut short because they are going so poorly, players being demoted to the second team permanently to get some minutes...it is a real disaster and these loans predictably seem to fail very often. That is the second thing Bayern must fix. Bayern needs to create a coherent strategy with these loans and find teams that actually suit the player.
Finally, Bayern needs to improve communication with the youngsters. Many youngsters on loan are left isolated and without regular contact from Bayern’s staff, while many youngsters in the youth teams grow discontent with the lack of communication on what their long term future at the club may hold. This is the third thing Bayern must fix. There needs to be a single dedicated person who links the youth teams to the first team and communicates with the young players with a view to the first team.
It seems that Christoph Freund has started strong by hiring Richard Kitzbichler to, as the FC Bayern website states, be “the link between the first team and the FC Bayern Campus when it comes to top talent development and support of loanees.” It seems that he is directly looking to address the third problem.
Solve the other two problems as well and perhaps Bayern will have a youth academy that prospers yet again.