Bayern Munich have extended the contract of teenage defender Lukas Mai, securing the services of one of Germany’s most promising young centre-backs until 2022. But who exactly is the next in line to Jerome Boateng and Niklas Süle?
bundesliga.com has all you need to know…
Lars Lukas Mai, known more simply as Lukas Mai, joined the Bayern academy in 2014 from hometown club Dynamo Dresden, going straight into the U16s despite being just 14. The hulking 6'2" defender has since progressed through every youth team, even making his debut for the club’s reserves as a 17-year-old. That same season he was also handed his first senior appearances by Jupp Heynckes, playing 90 minutes in the Bundesliga victories over Hannover and Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchdays 31 and 32 of 2017/18, earning himself a Bundesliga winner’s medal.
The teenager hasn’t played for the first team since, but has featured on the bench in 16 competitive matches, including three this season. Mai has, however, been a fixture for the club’s successful reserves. He featured in 27 Regionalliga matches, plus the two-legged play-off against Wolfsburg, last term as Bayern II achieved promotion to the third division. Of the seven games he missed, three were through injury, three because he was with the first team and just one through tactical reasons. This season, he has played every minute of the third-division campaign, even scoring the winner against a Hallescher FC side captained by his older brother, Sebastian.
Plays a bit like: Süle
Mai may be a couple of inches shorter than his fellow Bayern defender, but there are strong similarities between the two. Both quick across the pitch and in their decision-making, commanding in the air and adept with their feet, it was as if Süle was on the pitch when Mai lined up alongside Boateng and Mats Hummels in his respective two Bundesliga appearances.
Watch: Niklas Süle: "Lukas Mai is so talented!"
Did you know?
Mai’s debut against Hannover made him the first player born this millennium to feature for the Bayern first team. Football is also very much a family affair in the Mai household. Older brother Sebastian is also plying his trade in the third division with Halle, having previously turned out for Preußen Münster, Zwickau, Chemnitz and hometown club Dresden, where their father Lars was once a supervisory board member.
What they’re saying
“Lukas Mai is a super talent, a player the team supports and trusts. He worked very hard for this and it’s just the beginning for him.” – fellow Bayern centre-back Süle
“Of course, he could have made mistakes, but he didn't. I'm very satisfied. I was impressed with him in training and then in friendly matches when he looked unruffled. He keeps it simple, is good in the air, and quite good at starting play from the back.” – former Bayern head coach Jupp Heynckes, who handed Mai his senior debut
“Lukas is a good lad and one of our most talented youngsters. At 19 he’s already a key player for our reserves in the third division. We’re convinced his development isn’t finished yet.” – Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic