U21 player Levin Öztunali: Seeler's talented grandson - Sport
- Levin Öztunali played against the Serbs so strong that the question arises, why he can not retrieve this performance in the Bundesliga.
- In Mainz, however, the grandson of Uwe Seeler also runs mostly in eighth in midfield and not as an outside striker.
- Maybe Öztunali will not be an A-national, but still he could win his third European title in Italy at the age of 23.
It was already this pass that looked like one for higher tasks and larger stages. Levin Öztunali played the ball steeply, at the right moment and at the right pace, Marco Richter ran alone on goal and scored for the first of six goals in the 6-1 German U21 national team against Serbia. Öztunali then hit the crossbar once again, dribbling past the Serbs as if they were air, that's how he was superior to them, physically above all else. Who saw him playing for the first time on Thursday, was probably surprised by his class. But actually the footballer Öztunali, 23, has been a talent for a long time. Maybe a little too long.
The tournament in Italy and San Marino is so far a successful one for the German team, two games, two wins, this Sunday is enough against Austria already a draw for the semi-finals and the qualification for the Olympic Games 2020. The European Championship has already a German a few discoveries, for example those of striker Richter and Waldschmidt - the latter being more of a rediscovery that has been hinted at: The striker, 23, with four goals so far top scorer of the tournament, who was already 15 junior national team, played after his move to SC Freiburg last summer, his first strong Bundesliga season.
After the tournament Öztunali is too old for the U21
In the team there are those talents who already played in the A-Eleven like captain Jonathan Tah. There are the late developers like the famous midfielder Florian Neuhaus against Serbia. And there are players who were early in their development, but stagnate a bit. The selection should be one for the transition into the national team, that's the original idea. Öztunali has made a total of 71 junior internationals, 27 for the U21, the second most of all Under-21 internationals of the DFB history. The record holds Fabian Ernst with 31 missions, he will keep it even after this tournament. Because then Öztunali is too old for the U21.
On Friday, the day after the Serbia match, he sat in the team hotel in a round table with journalists, and right after the first question, he talked about why in Bundesligaalltag, where players recommend sustainable for higher tasks, not for him good walk. Öztunali has been playing for Mainz 05 for three years. Last season he played 15 games and prepared two goals. Actually, he also scored a goal, he said, but that was then unfortunately counted as own goal. He smiled, he is not a proverbial knocker. "In Mainz, of course, we also play another system," he said, "but I think I have already made good games in Mainz."
For Germany Öztunali plays as a winger in a three-way attack with Richter and Waldschmidt, in Mainz he played if, then usually in eighth in midfield. "It's also fun to play on the Eight, and it's another field of activity where you do not just define goals and make other demands," he says: "That you can learn more about the duels, more drag the ball . " In the DFB he was U19 European champion in 2014 and U21 European champion in 2017. He has already played 126 Bundesliga games, he points out, if you ask him what it would need to be developed as a footballer. "Take the next step" is the motto of the U21 at this European Championship. But Öztunali also says, "I think you can definitely work on the effectiveness."
Outstanding mostly only against peers
He is the grandson of Uwe Seeler, that was the story when he made his Bundesliga debut at 17 at Bayer Leverkusen, because they allegedly just at Seelers Hamburger SV, where he played in youth, not enough strove for him. In Leverkusen he was physically very far then for a teenager. Now the grandson is grown, but he is mostly outstanding only against peers. About his role in the U21, which some refer to as an oasis of well-being for the players, he says: "I'm one who has been here for some time, I know what the processes are like, and when new players come, they know they are can benefit from my experience and get a decent answer. " There are players like Öztunali, who make sure that the German team looks mature at the European Championships, more mature than most other teams.
Perhaps he is an example of a particularly important national player in the U21, which will not become an A-national player. But maybe that's not so bad. In the summer he could change the club to become a regular player again, the FC Augsburg should be interested. And first, he wants to be junior European champion again. "Such a title can cause a lot in the personal way," says Levin Öztunali. It would be his third time.