One of the World's Best U19 Indoor Tournaments
Eight teams from five nations meet again / tournament has continuously developed into one of the world's best U19 events
Soccer is a very fast-moving business. In 1991, the German champions were 1. FC Kaiserslautern. Clubs like TSG Hoffenheim were still playing in local leagues at that time. Even more remarkable are the constants in this type of sport; the first Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup in 1991, was also held at the Glaspalast in Sindelfingen. This tournament has been developing steadily into one of the world's best U19 events, which took place from the 6 – 7 January for the 27th time.
This year was no exception, when eight teams from five nations met again at the beginning of the year, including the trainees’ groups. The only thing that changes is the demand and interest of the tournament, which increases from year to year. Seat tickets for the second day of the finals have been a rare commodity for weeks and well attended will also be the first day of the finals. It is advisable to buy your tickets in advance.
On January 3rd, the South Korean team arrived in Sindelfingen and started preparing themselves intensively for the tournament at the Glaspalast as well as in the Soccer Arena. The group participates at the tournament mentored by Uli Stielike, who has been a member of the DFB at the Glaspalast several times and is now a national hero of the South Koreans. In Sindelfingen, they are practicing for an emergency. This tournament trip is for the Asians also a part of the preparation for the U20 World Championship, which takes place in South Korea.
The reigning champion, Leicester City, comes from England and has a special figurehead in their youth work, Gary Lineker. The English soccer icon has spent his entire youth at Leicester.
Last year, four players from their own youth team helped to secure the championship of the professionals. Rapid Wien comes to the Glaspalast as the titleholders and of course, they belong to one of the favorite teams. Rosenborg Trondheim is the poster child of the Norwegian soccer, which participates at the tournament in Sindelfingen for the first time.
They all meet strong German competitors. Eight youth players belong to the twelve-man squad of RB Leipzig, which will be at Glaspalast for the first time. Last year, the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim came in second and was on the field for the past three finals of the German U19 Championship. Schalke 04 has the most successful youth work of the past years in the field of individual support (Sané, Özil, Neuer, Ferryman, Meyer, Draxler, Höwedes). Always good for a surprise is the “home team” VfB Stuttgart, with Berkay Öczan who played at the Glaspalast a year ago.
The German Soccer Association pays special attention to the younger soccer generation. Since the players have been capable of greater achievements in the past years, the group moved even closer to the coach side of the national team. Instead of manager Oliver Bierhoff, Marcus Sorg (Löw’s assistant), is the sponsor of the tournament, and will be at the arena on both days.
A new feature of the 27th tournament is also the service. Tickets purchased in advance (www.easyticket.de) allow traveling by public transportation.
A shuttle bus, which is also the team bus of the German national team, will be waiting at the S-Bahn station Maichingen.
On January 6 at 10am begins the trainees match. The tournament of the professionals starts at 1pm and ends at 7:30pm. On January 7, the trainees start at 8:15am and the professionals will be playing at 11am. The finale is at 4pm.