The past few weeks will have been stressful for students busy doing last-minute swotting for school or college exams. Hertha Berlin pair Jordan Torunarigha and Sidney Friede – along with Augsburg’s Alfred Finnbogason - are the latest Bundesliga bookworms to pass with flying colours.
Hertha defender Torunarigha was one of the breakout stars of the second half of 2016/2017, scoring once in eight appearances to help his team finish sixth in the table. A goal in the 2-0 win over Darmstadt helped him win the Bundesliga’s Rookie of the Month award for May – which is all the more impressive when you consider that he had to concentrate on schoolwork at the same time.
This week Hertha revealed that the Germany under-20 international and fellow 19-year-old Friede – a midfielder who has yet to play for the first team – had both passed their final exams at secondary school. Having completed the Abitur – the equivalent of passing their A levels or getting a high school diploma – the up-and-coming youngsters can now focus solely on football.
Education was a priority for Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz last season as well. In March, the winger – who turned 18 earlier this month – had to miss his team’s UEFA Champions last 16 visit to Atletico Madrid in order to prepare for school exams.
The off-field pressure did not seem to bother Havertz too much. He made 24 appearances in the Bundesliga last term, rounding off the campaign by scoring twice on the last day as Leverkusen thrashed Hertha 6-2 away from home.
Augsburg striker Finnbogason had an injury-hit season but he obviously put his additional spare time to good use. Earlier this week the 28-year-old Iceland international received a Masters Degree in Sports Management from the Johan Cruyff Institute.
Education is clearly not an afterthought in German football. As well as graduating from youth academies, Bundesliga players are actively encouraged to graduate from school or college with something to fall back on.
Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich is another top-flight talent who completed his secondary education. We know that the 22-year-old got pretty high marks too, since he was coaxed into telling us by his club and international colleague Manuel Neuer during a press conference at Euro 2016.
Many players could have gone down another route had things gone differently. During their formative years, World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger spent time learning about life as an office clerk, while Leverkusen forward Stefan Kießling studied warehouse logistics.
Ex-Germany marksman Miroslav Klose was an apprentice carpenter, while Borussia Mönchengladbach attacker Andre Hahn could teach us a thing or two about painting the body of a car. Sebastian Jung is another Bundesliga star who probably appreciates his lie-ins now – the Wolfsburg full-back used to work in a bakery.