Florian Wirtz is laser-focused on delivering success at Bayer Leverkusen. - © Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
Florian Wirtz is laser-focused on delivering success at Bayer Leverkusen. - © Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
bundesliga

Florian Wirtz: "This Bayer Leverkusen team can win titles"

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In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, Germany international Florian Wirtz says the current Bayer Leverkusen squad has enough quality to win titles and reveals his pride in playing for Die Mannschaft.

bundesliga.com: You moved from Cologne to Leverkusen as a teenager. In the region, and especially in Cologne, this was somewhat controversial. How did you feel about that now?

Florian Wirtz: "My switch to Leverkusen in the U17’s was solely my decision because I saw a better prospects for myself in Leverkusen - and it worked out that way too. I had a good coach and great players that challenged me and made me into a better player. They still do that, and that's why I'm happy to have made this step. In hindsight, it was an uncomfortable decision, understandably. I think with time, I now feel very, very comfortable here at Leverkusen. I have many reasons for this because our team is simply top. That's why I'm very happy here."

Watch: The best of Florian Wirtz

bundesliga.com: Your father said that right after the first training session that you told him you were able to compete in Leverkusen. What did you mean by that?

Wirtz: "After telling my father that I was able to keep up after the initial training, I thought that I was able to assert myself in training due to my footballing quality. I was able to connect and wasn’t falling away from the group even though I was significantly younger. That pleased me because I'd never trained with a Bundesliga team before. That's why I proudly told my father. They were happy as well. They couldn't believe it at first because they were not accustomed to how things are playing for a Bundesliga team. As soon as they were able to watch, they started believing it, I think."

bundesliga.com: What can you still achieve with Leverkusen this season?

Wirtz: "2022 is going really well for us. We are playing really well as a team. We'll see what comes of it. We're aiming to get into the Champions League. That should be our target – to continue this way until the last matchday and achieve qualification."

bundesliga.com: Can you win titles with this team?

Wirtz: "Yes, because we have a team with so much quality. We have a lot of young players in the team, which is a strength because we have a lot of energy on the pitch, a lot of pace. That's why we're can dream about winning trophies with this team. We don't know what will unfold, but the potential is definitely there."

Watch: Leverkusen under the tactical microscope

bundesliga.com: How much do you enjoy playing for Germany?

Wirtz: "I enjoy playing for Germany a lot. I'm very proud to wear the German jersey. It's something I've been dreaming of since I was a little boy – to run onto the pitch for my country with the eagle on my chest.

bundesliga.com: You became European Champion with the German U21 team. How proud are you of that?

Wirtz: "The U21 European Championship was another special experience in my career. It wasn't too long ago. I'm very proud of that and having won my first – or second – gold medal. To win it for Germany is another level altogether. I'm very happy about it and proud to have been part of the team because we had such a great tournament. We played with such passion and heart. That's why it was such a big feat, not being the favourites and still winning that gold medal."

bundesliga.com: What memories do you have of your first goal in the Bundesliga?

Wirtz: "I think it was a moment that went down in history as being the youngest scorer in the Bundesliga. These are moments such as your debut or your first goal that will have a special place in your mind. These are things you will always be specifically proud of."

Watch: Wirtz's first Bundesliga goal - against Bayern Munich!

bundesliga.com: You wear the number 27 on your shirt. Why is that?

Wirtz: "That number wasn't my first choice. I initially wanted something else but it didn't work out. In the end, I decided on taking the number 27 and now, in hindsight, I'm very happy I did because I think it's a beautiful number and I think it looks good on my back. I see people walking around with the number 27 so it will always be a special number for me because I've already achieved and experienced things with it. I hope it will remain on my back."