“Goalscorer Johannes, assist Maximilian.” The Eggestein brothers may not have brought their grandfather’s wish to fruition at professional level just yet, but the pair are now closer to it than ever.

“Maxi” (20) and "Jojo" (19) are not just playing together for Werder Bremen; they are also team-mates for Germany at U-21 level following their debuts against Hungary in early September. The younger marked the occasion with a goal shortly after coming off the bench, giving him reason to celebrate, despite a 2-1 defeat.

The next taste of international action proved even more successful: Maxi struck the only goal of the game as holders Germany got their UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying campaign off to a winning start against Kosovo in Osnabrück. With the boys' parents in attendance, the Eggestein "family outing" made history. Why, you ask?

Maximilian Eggestein celebrates scoring for Germany U21s against Kosovo.
Maximilian Eggestein celebrates scoring for Germany U21s against Kosovo.

When Stefan Kuntz chose both to start against Kosovo, the Eggesteins joined an illustrious list. Only once have brothers appeared on the pitch at the same time for a German U21 side: who was it, you ask? Not Felix and Toni Kroos, not Lars and Sven Bender. Jerome and Kevin-Prince Boateng? Correct! Back in 2009.

“It was a surprise that we both got called up, and the Hungary game was exciting,” says Johannes. “I’m really proud to be here. Our parents and little sister are really excited that I’m playing together with Maxi in the national team.”

“Jojo” younger brother is still eligible to play for Germany’s U-20 side, but 24 goals in 39 junior international games had U21 coach Kuntz convinced he could make the grade.

The brothers had already made history in Bremen’s DFB Cup win at Würzburg in August, when they became the first ever siblings to play for the Green-Whites at the same time in a competitive match. Still, their journey to this point has been an arduous one. Werder signed Maximilian in 2011 and his brother two years later, with 1,001 days passing between their respective Bundesliga debuts.

The Eggestein brothers in action for Bremen in August 2017.

These days they are practically inseparable, living , training, eating and watching football together. “I prepare the food – he eats it!” revealed “Maxi” to Bremen newspaper Weser-Kurier. “We spend a lot of time together, but we also have time for ourselves. We both have to find our own way, although we obviously support each other.”

That now applies when wearing the colours of their national team in their respective positions, for while Johannes is a goalscorer, Maximilian pulls the strings in midfield. “He’s good in the tackle but he can also play the killer pass going forward,” says Johannes. Evidently, the ingredients are all there for granddad’s wish to come true.

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