Cologne - For fans of the beautiful game, there is nothing better than watching one of your very own make it to the top.
At Borussia Mönchengladbach and FC Schalke 04 that watershed moment is a fairly regular occurrence, and there was no better illustration of what homegrown talent means to both clubs than on Bundesliga Matchday 9.
Unsurprisingly, there have been instances in other European leagues where fame has got the better of some undeniably gifted individuals. It is, however, great testament to humble family clubs such as Gladbach and Schalke that their endless supply of academy graduates mature with such pride and humility.
Matchday 10’s grand finale is a meeting of two sides with genuine designs on a top-four finish, but it also represents a true meeting of minds on the subject of grassroots principles. If teams outside Germany’s top two divisions invested half as much time and energy into local talent, the world of football would be a better place.
Dennis-Julian Gottschlich/ Christopher Mayer-Lodge