Felix Passlack made history in November 2016 by becoming the youngest-ever Borussia Dortmund player to score in the UEFA Champions League when he netted their seventh in the 8-4 demolition of Legia Warsaw, aged 18 years and 177 days.
Now, though, he is firmly focused on helping the U19s beat Barcelona in their UEFA Youth League Round of 16 tie with the Blaugrana on Wednesday (kick-off 18:00 CET, live on Sport1). "We're not going there to take in the sights of the Catalan capital. We want to be coming back on Thursday with the best result we can get," assured coach Benjamin Hoffmann prior to departure.
Young first-teamer Felix-Passlack is among those on board. "I'm sure he''ll accept it and join Jakob Bruun Larsen and Dzenis Burnic in putting himself at the service of his former team," said Hoffmann, who will be without the suspended Orel Mangala and ill Janno Baxmann in Barcelona's Mini Estadi tomorrow evening. The coach was denied the opportunity for further personnel reinforcements from the "more senior teams" (Till Schumacher, Jonas Arweiler and Lars Dietz) due to the current lack of cover in the U23 squad, while Christian Pulisic, 18, is not eligible to play at A-Junior level.
Passlack's two previous guest appearances in the UEFA Youth League have ended in victory: the first a 2-0 triumph away to Legia Warsaw and the second a 3-1 win over Real Madrid. "I know Felix really enjoys playing with us because he is a footballer through and through," said Hoffmann in praise of the talented youngster, who is likely to line up for the U19s at right-back or somewhere in midfield.
Following the 3-0 Bundesliga victory in Bielefeld, Hoffmann and his co-coach Daniel Rios swiftly switched their attention to their prominent opponents, who are coming through the ranks at the world-famous La Masia academy. "Similarly to the first team, they play in a 4-3-3 formation, have a huge amount of possession and use quick wingers. We will have to cover a lot of ground while at the same time trying to play our own game," he analysed.
Five wins in the group stage
Barcelona won five times in the group stages, beating Celtic 2-1 and 4-1, Manchester City 1-0 and 2-0, and Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 before losing the return fixture with the Germans 2-1 in what was essentially a dead rubber. They have three key attacking players: 17-year-old striker Jordi Mboula has scored five goals in as many games in the Youth League, while pacey winger Jeremy Guillemenot has netted three and Dani Garcia, also strong going forward, pulls the strings in midfield. They have a famous name at the back, too: Oriol Busquets, brother of Barca star Sergio Busquets, marshalls the defence.
"Obviously it's going to be a huge challenge for us but I'm optimistic, because we've put in our best performances in the Youth League away from home," said Hoffmann in reference to the highly successful displays in Warsaw (2-0), Madrid (3-1), Lisbon (against Sporting, 1-1) and Maccabi Haifa (1-0). Should the Black and Yellows extend that impressive run in Barcelona, they can look forward to home advantage in the next round, where they would face either Porto or Viitorul Constanza.
The probable line-up: Bansen – Schwermann (Passlack), Kilian, Pieper, Beste – Passlack (Sechelmann), Burnic – Larsen, Yilma, Wanner – Amenyido.