SportsWirtz, the young star of Germany who threatens Betis

Wirtz, the young star of Germany who threatens Betis


Florian Wirtz drives the ball in the face of Kimmich’s harassment.SASCHA STEINBACH (EFE)

Betis host Leverkusen (18.45, Movistar LC) in a match where both teams will fight for first place in group G. Andalusians and Germans have won the first two games and both have six points. Only the first classified of each group goes directly to the round of 16 of this renewed Europa League. Betis, eighth in LaLiga, comes from beating Alavés and Leverkusen, third in the Bundesliga, from falling with a crash against Bayern (1-5). A match where the leader of the German competition swept away the rival of Betis.

At Leverkusen, a regular in the Champions League in recent years, an 18-year-old footballer shines who is considered the player with the greatest projection in German football. This is Florian Wirtz, a talented midfielder born in 2003 who has already played four games for Germany’s senior team, in which he made his debut on September 2 in the German victory against Liechtenstein (0-2). In these four games, Wirtz has scored two goals (against Armenia and Macedonia) without starting any of them. Wirtz debuted with Leverkusen on May 18, 2020, in the first game after the break due to the coronavirus pandemic, against Werder Bremen to then become the third youngest player to debut in the Bundesliga, at 15 years and 15 days . Four games later and against Bayern, Wirtz scored a goal and became at that time the youngest footballer to score in the German competition at 17 years and 34 days.

Captain of Germany’s under-17 team and European under-21 champion, Wirtz’s football has only grown in just a year and a half. In the past season, where Leverkusen reached sixth place, Wirtz played 38 games in all the competitions played by the German team, also scoring eight goals. In the current one, the midfielder has played seven games in the Bundesliga (four goals) and the two in the Europa League (two goals).

“Wirtz has the most important thing in professional football: receiving and transporting balls, combined with technique and speed. He has to get a little stronger, but he has an incredible future ahead of him, ”said Rudi Völler, general manager of the German team and a myth of Teutonic football. Formed in the lower categories of Cologne, Leverkusen did not hesitate to pay 200,000 euros to incorporate him into their reserve team in the winter market of the 2019-20 season, when half Germany tried to sign him. Now, according to the specialized web Transfermarkt, has a market value of 65 million euros with only 18 years. With a contract until 2026 after its renewal in May, Leverkusen is well attached to this emerging figure of German football, the first in the history of the Bundesliga to reach 10 goals at just 18 years old, something he did last September 25 when scoring the goal of the victory against Mainz. Wirtz doesn’t just score. In the seven games he has played in the League this season (the first one was lost due to injury) he has accumulated six assists. “As a child I always wanted to play for Barcelona. Nothing has changed, but I still have a long way to go, “said Wirtz himself in an interview with the newspaper. Bild last year in one of his rare press appearances. In Germany, the press compares him with Pedri, from Barcelona itself.

The history of Betis is marked by small discoveries in the European matches of the entity. Thus, for example, the most veteran Betis still remember the impact that a Portuguese player had in 1982. It was Fernando Chalana, who at 23 years of age stood out at Benfica that Betis faced in the first tie of the UEFA Cup of the 82-83 campaign. Betis would be eliminated by a 2-1 double against the historic Portuguese team, which would reach the final to be defeated by Anderlecht. Chalana amazed with his football in the second leg (1-2) at a Benfica where Alves, with his black gloves in the middle of Seville in September, also exercised his football teaching in a crowded Benito Villamarín.

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