On the lavish World Cup night, which ended by the pool with a panoramic view of the volcano, the euphoric U17 heroes proudly listened to the eulogies.

In the company of parents and friends of the young national players, DFB officials and coaches praised an extraordinary football generation at the gala dinner after midnight. Great careers are already being predicted for penalty hero Konstantin Heide, the best tournament player Paris Brunner and their teenage colleagues.

Even if the road to professional glory is still long after the 4-3 triumph in the penalty shootout against France: The talents born in the exciting German summer fairy tale of 2006 are, after their own World Cup winter fairy tale, promising bearers of hope for new successes in dreary national team times.

U17 world champions satisfy longing

“A lot of Germans longed to have a team again that embodied the German virtues that Germans identify with,” said world champion coach Christian Wück after the last game with this selection. Individual exceptional talents not only enchanted with attributes such as fight and passion, but also awakened the almost forgotten myth of a German tournament team. “I told the boys that they had managed to get a nation behind them,” said Wück. World and European champions in six months – that’s never happened before.

“I would like to see what the U17 team has shown in the last few weeks with the A team as well,” said record national player Lothar Matthäus. 2014 world champions such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller and Philipp Lahm sent glorious words of congratulations to their possible successors. Chancellor Olaf Scholz praised a “great team performance” in a “thrilling tournament”.

Nagelsmann’s EM promise

National coach Julian Nagelsmann, whose senior national team has not yet aroused any anticipation for the 2024 European Championship at home, was also enthusiastic about the performance. “Of course we’re trying to build on that. I think it was a very emotional tournament for the U17s, and a lot of people in Germany also watched it,” said Nagelsmann at the European Championship draw.

The record number for this age group, an average of 2.47 million people, watched the RTL broadcast in Germany alone as the U17s provided the next World Cup drama. After nerve-wracking performances in the quarter-finals against Spain and a penalty thriller in the semi-final rollercoaster ride against Argentina, the selection went one better in the final madness against the Grande Nation. “It was simply wonderful, the boys wrote German football history,” said national team manager Joti Chatzialexiou. “It was a huge team effort.”

Dramatic final script

2-0 lead by Dortmund Brunner and captain Noah Darvich from FC Barcelona, ​​connecting goal, Leipzig winner Osawe was sent off, equalizer, saved with the last of his strength after half an hour when outnumbered in the penalty shootout. There, the team around Heide, who had been promoted from substitute goalkeeper to World Cup match winner, was also behind. But the Haching goalkeeper saved two penalty kicks, as he did against Argentina. As the final shooter, Dortmund’s Almugera Kabar kept his nerve. “We are the best team in the world, even a red card won’t stop us because we are simply a team,” said BVB young star Brunner, pointing out an impressive mentality.

Brunner was awarded the Golden Ball for the best World Cup player. Numerous examples show that this does not automatically lead to a career like that of Toni Kroos, who was honored as an outstanding player at the U17 World Cup in 2007. But the path is paved. “Often it is exactly these years that go on to have a career many years later,” said DFB sports director Rudi Völler. “If they continue to work like this and continue to improve, they can become senior national players at some point. There’s still a long way to go.”

This is how world champions can become good professionals

The journey back after five weeks in Southeast Asia was also a long journey, where the students, 11,000 kilometers from home, had to take part in more than a dozen exams in addition to their football exams. From the final location, Surakarta, we went home to Frankfurt/Main via Jakarta and Doha, where, after the scheduled arrival at 6.40 a.m. and a temperature difference of over 40 degrees, we were invited to a reception at the DFB campus. “We are European and world champions. I told the boys that they would make themselves immortal,” enthused Wück. “If anyone got to know the character of the team, it was fighting against adversity. Always believing in yourself. That’s unbelievable.”

After Germany’s first World Cup title in this age group, Wück left his future open. His players, who made him the first to lift the World Cup trophy as a sign of appreciation, must now, above all, shape the clubs. “Now it’s up to the clubs. It’s really up to the German football landscape to give these boys the opportunity to play in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd league,” said the 50-year-old. “We have to find ways in Germany to give German talents playing time. This also requires trust.”