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Junior Cup in Sindelfingen: Crazy Galatasaray and stars to come


Already in the parking lot in front of the Glaspalast in Sindelfingen, it is clear which U19 team provided the most support. It’s the Galatasaray team. About 400 fans gathered, with drums, banners and loud chants welcoming the talent bus of the Turkish record champions. Arrive like the stars.

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They came at the start of the two-day Junior Cup on Saturday. After a two-year pandemic break, the 31st edition is approaching. At this indoor tournament in Sindelfingen, about 20 kilometers from Stuttgart, eight top junior teams will present themselves. In addition to Istanbul, there are Bundesliga representatives VfB Stuttgart, FC Augsburg, 1. FC Köln and RB Leipzig as well as Benfica Lisbon, Manchester United and reigning champions Rapid Vienna.


The opening match between local hero Stuttgart and Galatasaray has only one winner: the fans in the stands. In the room, which was sold out with around 6,000 spectators, the fans of the young Istanbul team drowned everything. “They arrive by bus from all over Europe,” said a spokesperson for car manufacturer Mercedes Benz, which organizes and sponsors the Junior Cup. Drums, chants, jumps – with this triad they push the young A’s of their club forward. “It doesn’t matter if U12, U14, U19 or professionals, we are always here because we love Galatasaray”says Semih Karlitepe, himself from the Stuttgart region.


It’s not just “Gala” fans who know that you can see some of the stars of tomorrow at the indoor tournament on the outskirts of Baden-Württemberg’s capital. The list of young footballers who then took off in world football is long. 13 former Junior Cup participants took part in the World Cup in Qatar, including Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sané and Manuel Neuer from Germany and Marcus Rashford from England. World champion and former national player Mesut Özil also worked magic here. In total, the organizer listed 143 national players from 48 countries.

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Boss Cacau: “The best players in professional teams”

The event’s first-time sponsor is Cacau (41), who played for VfB Stuttgart from 2003 to 2014 and is currently the Swabian Bundesliga side’s brand ambassador. Born in Brazil, he himself has never actively participated in the Junior Cup, but knows how important the tournament is. “The exchange with the best international teams is particularly important for future development”says the 23-time German national player, who finished third with the DFB team at the 2010 World Cup. This year, after two events canceled due to Corona, a staggering number of top talents are not there. “The best players are in training camp with the professional teams”Cacau explains.


Many scouts came anyway. After SPORTSBUZZER information only three looking for upcoming stars only for Manchester United in mainland Europe. A former head scout for two Bundesliga clubs sees the fact that some of the best young players are missing this time around as a big opportunity – both for the players on the pitch and for the scouts in the stands. “Others play in the foreground and have the opportunity to show their quality here,” he said in a chat room conversation. He does not want to be named. It’s good manners in the industry, you want to work in the background in this. “Here, we can discover players who suddenly come out of the shadows while others are not there”, he underlines.


Jens Nowotny is also watching closely. Unlike the scouts, the 48-year-old does it without secrecy. Nowotny wore the national team shirt from 1997 to 2006 and was still in the squad at the home World Cup 16 years ago. The former Bayer Leverkusen professional is now assistant coach of the U19s at the DFB. He sees the Junior Cup as an ‘opportunity to talk to young players in peace’, says Nowotny SPORTSBUZZER, the sports portal of RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND), on the sidelines of the tournament. Nowotny sees the indoor format as “ideal for training the forces of modern football”.


Rapid Wien wins with Bajlicz as tournament MVP

Besides Nowotny, Cacau and the scouts, many (former) Bundesliga coaches will be honoured, such as Tayfun Korkut (Stuttgart, Hannover, most recently Hertha BSC) and Marco Pezzaiuoli (formerly TSG Hoffenheim and DFB juniors). Under the eyes of the well-known guests in the stands, FC Augsburg did better from a German point of view in third place: FCA beat Manchester United 1-0 in the “little final”.

In the Junior Cup, Galatasaray Istanbul and Rapid Vienna met in the final.

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Rapid Wien proved to be the most convincing. The U19s of the Austrian capital had already won the title at the last event in 2020. And it was once again successful. The defending champions have won every game, including 9-0 against Benfica – the Portuguese won the Youth League, the European Youth Club Champions League, with their youth team last season. The best player also came from Rapid: Nicolas Bajlicz was the top scorer and received the trophy for the best player of the tournament from patron Cacau – as a certain Joshua Kimmich did in 2013. The 18-year-old striker has played for 1. FC Köln’s youth team in the past, but moved to Vienna this summer.


In Sunday night’s final, Rapid and Bajlicz won 4-0 against Galatasaray. The Turkish team was still supported by some Glasplast supporters. But there were fewer than on the first day of the tournament. The most probable reason: the Istanbul derby between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray (1: 3) was taking place at the same time – it cannot be ruled out that in this top game in the future the players will also be supported by Loud fans of “Gala” who still played in Sindelfingen this weekend are.


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