Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and Cologne’s Noah Katterbach have both been awarded with the prestigious gold Fritz Walter Medal for young German players. The German Football Association (DFB) honoured the youngsters at U-19 and U-17 level respectively.
Germany U-19 captain Havertz became the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 50 appearances during 2017/18. The 19-year-old Aachen-born attacking midfielder has scored seven goals and provided 15 assists in his Bundesliga career so far, and won the gold medal at U-19 level ahead of Hertha Berlin’s Arne Maier, and Hamburg’s Manuel Wintzheimer.
Cologne defender Noah Katterback was honoured at U-17 level with the gold medal, ahead of Oliver Batista Meier of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund’s Luca Unbehaun. The 17-year-old Cologne left-back has already made 12 appearances for the German U-17 team and may well make his first-team debut during the 2018/19 season with the Billy Goats in Bundesliga 2.
Named in honour of West Germany’s 1954 World Cup-winning captain, the Fritz Walter Medal is seen as the highest accolade for players in German youth football (U19 and U17, also previously U18) and has been awarded to some star names in the past.
Watch: Havertz tells bundesliga.com he wants more records!
World Cup winners Toni Kroos (2008) and Mario Götze (2009 and 2010) are just two of the biggest names to win the gold medal in their age group down the years. Current Bundesliga first-team players Benjamin Henrichs (2016), Jonathan Tah (2015), Julian Brandt (2014), Niklas Stark (2014), Matthias Ginter (2013, 2012), Timo Werner (2013), Timo Horn (2010), Lewis Holtby (2009), Benedikt Höwedes (2007) and Lars Bender (2006) have all also been honoured with the gold medal since its introduction in 2005.