With three goals in 23 minutes of play for Hannover's first team, Hendrik Weydandt is living a fairy tale right now. - © © imago / Simon
With three goals in 23 minutes of play for Hannover's first team, Hendrik Weydandt is living a fairy tale right now. - © © imago / Simon

Hannover's Hendrik Weydandt: "I'd never even been in a youth academy"

If you're still trying to wrap your head around the incredible story of Hannover striker Hendrik Weydandt, spare a thought for the player himself, who says his rise from being a "village footballer" to professional player within a matter of weeks has left him feeling like he is "in a trance".

Signed in July from 1. FC Germania Egestorf/Langreder, who play in the Regionalliga (Germany's fourth division), to bolster the reserves, the 23-year-old caught the eye of Hannover head coach Andre Breitenreiter over the summer and has since scored three goals in his first two competitive matches with the first team.

He made his debut as an 82nd-minute substitute in the DFB Cup first round, but still had time to score a brace in the 6-0 thrashing of Karlsruher SC. He followed that up by scoring within seconds of entering the pitch on his Bundesliga debut as a second half substitute against Werder Bremen on Matchday 1, helping the side to a 1-1 draw.

Watch: Weydandt - a German Jamie Vardy story

Those three goals in a combined total of 23 minutes of play were enough to convince Hannover to reward Weydandt with his first professional contract in early September. The following day the forward, who is currently finishing off his thesis to complete his Business Studies Bachelor's degree, faced the nation's media for the first time.

"All the attention is a new feeling for me," he said. "It's not something I'm used to. I'm looking forward to the future and to really getting started. It's great to be part of the team because so far I haven't had any difficulties. The team have welcomed me really well and that's ideal for an inexperienced player like myself to get integrated."

Not that the transition has entirely been without a few teething problems. "Obviously there are difficulties in adapting to the step up to the Bundesliga from the fourth division," Weydandt continued. "Even just in the summer it was a huge adjustment for me being in the Hannover U-23 side because I'd never played for a professional club or even been in a youth academy. My thought process at the time was: 'OK, you need to soak everything up. Try to do things right from the beginning because first impressions are lasting'."

They certainly are - and few more so than Weydandt's, even if he admitted to being a bundle of nerves when he was told he was about to play in the Bundesliga for the first time: "All kinds of thoughts spin through your head so I just thought to myself: 'Stay calm, don't overthink things, just go out there and play.' The build-up to my goal was great and the fact I also nutmegged the goalkeeper was 95 per cent luck. I'm just trying to be calm about it all, train well and keep riding this wave a bit longer."

After penning his new professional contract, which runs until June 2020, he will have plenty of time to do so, even if he admits it will take a while before he is ready to play a full 90 minutes. "Your body needs four to five months to get used to the greater strain [of playing in the Bundesliga]," he said. "But so far I haven't felt any signs of fatigue. I get up every morning and can't wait to play football."

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