Paul Wanner is regarded as one of the hottest properties in the Bayern Munich youth academy. - © kolbert-press/Christian Kolbert via images/kolbert-press
Paul Wanner is regarded as one of the hottest properties in the Bayern Munich youth academy. - © kolbert-press/Christian Kolbert via images/kolbert-press

Paul Wanner: Who is the 16-year-old who became Bayern Munich’s youngest-ever player?


It takes something special to be in the Bayern Munich squad, and even more so if you're still legally a child who just turned 16! But such is the case of Paul Wanner, who has been named in the record champions' roster for their Matchday 18 meeting with Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Paul Wanner
: 16
Club: Bayern Munich
Position: Midfield
Country: Germany (seven U17 caps)

Key stats

Born in the town of Amtzell in southern Germany – almost exactly halfway between Freiburg and Munich and close to the Austrian border - Wanner started out playing for local side Ravensburg, before Bayern’s scouting network identified his potential and signed him for the club in July 2020 at the age of 14.

Considered too advanced for his own age group, Wanner was thrust into the U16s in his first year at the club, and was promoted to the U17s at the start of 2021/22. After posting a goal and an assist in two outings for the team, the attacker, who usually operates centrally but can also play off either wing, was thrown into the U19s, where he chipped in with two goals and two assists in his first nine appearances (eight as a starter) in the U19 Bundesliga South/South-West.

Despite only recently turning 16, the midfielder is already a regular in Germany’s U17 side. - Vasile Mihai-Antonio/Getty Images

Wanner’s assured displays did not go unnoticed in the Germany set-up, and he was given his U17 debut in August 2021 against Poland. Six further caps followed, before a combination of injury and illness in Julian Nagelsmann’s first-team pool opened the door for Wanner to have a taste of life with the pros on Bundesliga Matchday 18, when he made his senior debut as a 75th-minute substitute for Marc Roca.

Plays a bit like: Kai Havertz

Wanner is an attacking midfielder most at home in central areas where he can thread a pass or drag a defender out of position. As a left-footer with a lean frame, outstanding close control and technique who seems to glide effortlessly over the pitch, there is more than a little bit of former Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Kai Havertz is his game.

Left-footed and with a seemingly effortless ability to glide away from opponents’ clutches, there’s more than a hint of Kai Havertz in Wanner’s playing style. - Germann/ Eibner-Pressefoto via images/Eibner

Did you know?

Wanner was with fellow Bayern academy player Arijon Ibrahimovic in Spain taking part in a Germany U17 training camp when he got the call to return to Munich and join up with the first team.

“It was a stressful trip for them,” Nagelsmann said of the teenage duo, after calling them up for Bayern’s squad for the Matchday 18 meeting with Gladbach. “But they’ll cope with it fine, as you’d expect from two 16-year-olds who have been asked to train with the senior team. We don’t need to wrap them up in cotton wool.”

What they’re saying

“Paul Wanner is an outstanding talent with a lot of qualities. Obviously he’s still very young – he only turned 16 just before Christmas [on 23 December] – so he’s still a very, very young player. Physically he’s not yet fully developed, but he’s a very quick player with an unbelievably good technique. He’s left-footed, has very good ideas and believes in himself. He’s trained with the pros three or four times now and he’s definitely a player I’ve got my eye on that we need to support in the future.” – Nagelsmann ahead of Bayern’s Matchday 18 clash with Gladbach