Munich - The staff at FC Bayern München may well be used to seeing top-quality players at close-quarters on a daily basis, but even that has not stopped the chorus of praise surrounding a couple of talented youngsters from growing louder with each passing day.
Following in the footsteps of Julian Green, who caught coach Pep Guardiola’s eye during pre-season preparations in 2013 and went on to become a fully-fledged USA international and World Cup goalscorer, Lucas Scholl and Gianluca Gaudino are the teenagers who have set tongues wagging this year.
And if their names sound familiar it is because the duo’s respective fathers also once graced the Bundesliga. Lucas' dad Mehmet is revered as one of FC Bayern’s most beloved and successful former players, having won eight Bundesliga titles and five DFB Cups during his 15-year stint with the record titleholders. The similarities between father and son are unmistakable. Possessing Mehmet's stature and technical ability, Lucas has already demonstrated a propensity for the audacious with some mazy solo runs and eye of the needle passes in Bayern's pre-season warm-up games.
Two to watch?
Scholl Jr. is one of several youngsters that Guardiola has used in the absence of Bayern’s World Cup heroes, but he more than most has seized the chance to leave a lasting impression on the Spanish strategist, having more than held his own alongside the likes of Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandowski. “Scholl is just like his dad: very strong in one-on-one situations," gushed Guardiola Scholl has featured heavily in the Bavarians’ pre-season schedule, as has his 17-year-old sidekick Gianluca Gaudino, whose surname is also a throwback to the Bundesliga of yesteryear. His father Maurizio - famously tackled by now Mayor of London Boris Johnson in a charity match back in 2006 - won five caps for Germany and played for a host of clubs, including Eintracht Frankfurt and VfB Stuttgart, winning the Bundesliga title with the latter in 1992.
Hungry for success
Now a football agent having hung up his boots in 2003, Gaudino is delighted with his son’s development, and that of youngster Scholl. “They’re doing a phenomenal job," the 47-year-old said in an interview with Sport1. "They're both playing with a smile on their faces and they have a variety of skills. As a father, it's fantastic to be able to see that." Gaudino in particular has wasted no time in asserting himself, having played almost every minute of Bayern's pre-season campaign so far. Scholl and Gaudino have not only inherited their respective fathers' natural talent but have already proven how strong a work ethic they both possess. The two greenhorns are at the beginning of their journeys in professional football, but one senses that neither will be satisfied with just a whiff of first-team football. These two rising stars have their sights firmly set on cementing their positions at Germany's most decorated club in years to come. Christoph Gailer/James Thorogood