They started the tournament as rank outsiders and returned home as proud winners: Borussia Dortmund talents Almugera Kabar, Charles Herrmann, Paris Brunner and Kjell Wätjen made a decisive contribution as the Germany U17 national team surprisingly and deservedly triumphed to win their first European Championship title in 14 years.
"It was an unbelievably tight match. We were slightly lucky in the final but on the basis of the entire tournament, I think that we deserved it," beamed coach Christian Wück following the dramatic 5-4 penalty shootout triumph against France. Indeed, his team surpassed themselves throughout the course of the competition and played an outstanding group stage with wins over Portugal (4-0), France (3-1) and Scotland (3-0). Despite their numerical inferiority for a long time, the DFB team beat Switzerland 3-2 on penalties in the quarter-finals and then reached the final courtesy of their 5-3 win against Poland in the semi-finals. "This title win is a nice confirmation of the quality of our talents and their excellent development," said senior team coach Hansi Flick in praise of the meticulous work and development of young footballers conducted in the youth performance centres.
The largest club contingent in the DFB squad belonged to BVB, who were represented by four players. Luke Rahmann would have probably been called up too, but the central defender has been out injured for a long time. Paris Brunner was among the standout youth players in Hungary. The left-sided attacker registered by some distance the most shots at goal of all the players that featured at the tournament (27) and shared the award for top scorer with FC Bayern's Robert Ramsak and the Spanish duo of Marc Guiu and Lamine Yamale, with four goals apiece.
Mike Tullberg eagerly awaiting the European champions
Brunner made the starting line-up in all six matches, while Almugera Kabar and Charles Herrmann only missed the dead rubber against Scotland and performed outstandingly throughout. Kjell Wätjen was among the most important back-up players. He scored in the 3-0 win against Scotland and then slotted home in the shootout against Switzerland.
The European champions will now be fully integrated into the Borussia U19s, who will commence pre-season on 25 June. Paris Brunner was promoted to Mike Tullberg's squad in the autumn of 2022. Kjell Wätjen followed suit in the spring, with Almugera Kabar and Charles Herrmann now set to join them. "A lot of talent is coming," said Mike Tullberg, who is eagerly awaiting the additions from the club's own ranks.