Bayern Munich have handed Aleksandar Pavlovic a contract through to 2027 after the up-and-coming defensive midfielder made his first-team debut. bundesliga.com looks at the latest gem to emerge from the Bayern Campus...
Stats correct as of 1 November 2023
Pavlovic's first-team debut in the 8-0 win over Darmstadt on Matchday 9 of the 2023/24 campaign has been coming for some time.
Locally born, his talent was spotted very very early, and he joined Bayern aged seven after first pulling on his boots at SC Fürstenfeldbruck, where fellow Bayern pro Josip Stanišić also played. He worked his way through the ranks at the record champions, and was named by coach Thomas Tuchel among the substitutes for the Bundesliga Matchday 31 and 32 wins over Werder Bremen and Schalke respectively last season.
That milestone followed impressive displays in central midfield for Bayern's U19s last season and a handful of appearances for the reserve side, which had convinced first Julian Nagelsmann and then Tuchel that Pavlovic was ready to step up into first-team training. He impressed alongside the superstars on the Säbenser Strasse pitches, before doing likewise in pre-season friendlies against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.
It is well documented that Bayern tried and failed to reinforce the defensive midfield position in the summer, but Tuchel was never going to be that disappointed to miss out. "We'll have to see, we still have a few days. Perhaps we'll do something," said the Bayern boss late in the 2023 summer window. "And if we don't, then we have Aleks from our U23s."
Pavlovic was part of the first-team squad for five matches, including the Champions League win at Galatasaray, before the inevitable happened. Tuchel had promised that, "They will get their minutes" when speaking about the youngsters taking part in first-team training, and he has been as good as his word as far as Pavlovic is concerned.
Plays a bit like: Javi Martinez
Measuring 6'1" (1.86m), Pavlovic's wiry frame is yet to fill out, but his ability to cover the pitch, being aggressive in the tackle, and precise eye for a pass have him shaping up to fit the mould of Bayern's treble-winning former Spain international midfielder.
Martinez was the glue that bound defence and attack in the historic 2012/13 campaign, and he was the picture of solidity and security during his nine years at the club, underpinning Bundesliga title wins in each of his seasons in Munich.
Pavlovic looks to be cut from the same cloth: though he was on the pitch for just 13 minutes against Darmstadt, he had 19 touches and completed every single one of his passes. Javi Martinez would be proud.
Did you know?
Thanks to his family roots, Pavlovic is eligible to play for Serbia and Germany. He was recently called up to feature for Serbia's U21 side, but declined the opportunity, leaving his international future open.
His father will no doubt have something to say about that. Pavlovic Sr. can frequently be spotted standing on the hill near the Bayern training ground watching his son be put through his paces with the rest of the first-team squad.
What they're saying
“I grew up at FC Bayern and am very happy to have now signed my first professional contract. I’ve dreamed of this since I was little. Many thanks to everyone who’s supported me at the FC Bayern Campus. I want to learn in every training session and will keep working hard on myself.” - Aleksandar Pavlovic after signing his pro contract with Bayern
“Aleks Pavlovic is a technically gifted midfielder with very good vision. Furthermore, he’s incredibly eager to learn, ambitious and determined in terms of his goals. Aleks has worn the Bayern shirt since the age of seven and has passed through every youth team all the way to our first team. That makes him a great example for our boys at the Campus. We’re very pleased that he’s signed his first professional contract with us.” - Bayern sporting director Christoph Freund
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