"It's a fantastic experience. I was very happy when I found out I'd been selected. It's not something you experience every day," says Samuel Bamba. The 18-year-old has travelled to Asia as part of the BVB touring party and even managed to bag a brace of goals in the first friendly match.

Samuel Bamba has been with Borussia Dortmund since U9 level, and is proud to call himself a Dortmund lad. He is now a member of the U19 team, with whom he won the German Championship, and plays in the UEFA Youth League - not to mention his participation in Borussia Dortmund's ASIA TOUR 2022. Alongside Nnamdi Collins and Julian Rijkhoff, he is one of three players from the U19 team that BVB coach Edin Terzic has taken with him on the trip.

"I'm with experienced players here. That's why it's a completely different level: physically, in football terms, in all aspects really," says Bamba about training with the first team and the U23s. "At this level, for example, it's very different when you do rondo drills. I'm not used to everything going so fast, the balls coming at you so quickly. The first touch is very important, that's what they tell me, that you always have to be ready. Otherwise you just lose the ball right away." I try to take advice from my experienced teammates and use it to improve. I can learn a lot from them.''

That said, he is already a more than capable player. In the first friendly of the trip, a 7-2 win over Lion City Sailors in Singapore, the young forward was brought on as a second-half substitute and duly scored two goals. "Everyone congratulated me. I was happy to hear the kind words from the players and coaches." He is already looking forward to the next two matches, against Johor Southern Tigers on Monday and the Vietnam national team on Wednesday: "I'll try to get off to a good start, put in a good performance and give it everything I've got.''

Bamba already has a lot of stories to tell his U19 teammates who remained back home in Dortmund. The ten days' experience of life as a top-level footballer has stirred Samuel Bamba's desire and ambition to pursue a professional career even more.
Christina Reinke