Bayer Leverkusen teenager Florian Wirtz makes history with Germany U21s
Bayer Leverkusen teenager Florian Wirtz has surpassed the likes of Leon Goretzka, Mats Hummels, Mario Götze and Julian Draxler as the youngest player to ever represent Germany's U21s.
Wirtz made his debut for Stefan Kuntz's side in their 5-0 win over Moldova in UEFA Euro U21 qualifying on 9 October 2020.
Aged 17 years and 159 years, the Leverkusen midfielder eclipses the record set by former Schalke and Wolfsburg forward Draxler - now of Paris Saint-Germain and a fully fledged Germany international - by 164 days.
For Wirtz, it is the latest in a growing list of career milestones. Not long after moving to Leverkusen from Rhineland neighbours Cologne in January 2020, the prodigious midfielder became the youngest player to ever feature for Die Werkself in the Bundesliga when he made his debut against Werder Bremen at the tender age of 17 years and 15 days.
Nineteen days later, he wrote his name into the annals as the greenest goalscorer in German top-flight history with a fine effort past Manuel Neuer in a 4-2 defeat to Bayern Munich. The previous record holder on both fronts was a certain Kai Havertz.
Wirtz has since claimed the Fritz Walter gold medal in the U17 category for 2020 - an award that has been bestowed upon the best young footballers in Germany since 2005 - and is widely seen as Havertz's natural successor.
Watch: The moment Florian Wirtz became the Bundesliga's youngest goalscorer
Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz even cited his emergence on the first-team scene as one of the reasons why the club did not pursue 2014 FIFA World Cup-winning hero Götze during the recently closed summer transfer window.
"Mario wanted to come to Leverkusen," the Dutchman claimed in an interview with De Telegraaf following ex-Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich star Götze's free transfer to PSV Eindhoven. "But we already have young Florian Wirtz in his position. He's an intelligent player, and a massive talent."
Wirtz, who only made his Germany U15s bow as recently as May 2018, has racked up 10 Bundesliga appearances since debuting in May 2020, registering a goal and assist apiece. He has two years left on his current Leverkusen deal.
Top 10 youngest Germany U21 debutants
1) Florian Wirtz (17 years, 159 days)
2) Julian Draxler (17 years, 323 days)
3) Richard Sukuta-Pasu (18 years, 56 days)
4) Mario Götze (18 years, 92 days)
5) Ashkan Degajah (18 years, 95 days)
6) Mats Hummels (18 years, 101 days)
7) Olaf Thon (18 years, 133 days)
8) Christian Wörns (18 years, 152 days)
9) Marko Marin (18 years, 161 days)
10) Leon Goretzka (18 years, 188 days)
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