How to reflect on the past 12 months of our youngsters? It was extremely successful with two honours and two near misses! Time to take a look back.
UEFA Youth League
Our boys won a tough group last season with Sevilla, Lille and Wolfsburg. In March 2022, Roko Simic & Co went away to MSK Zilina in March to start the knockout stage. We managed to beat the brave Slovakian outfit on a penalty shoot-out.
The resulting quarter-finals placed Rene Aufhauser's side up against Paris Saint-Germain's young talents. Our Young Bulls were not daunted by going 0-1 down within the opening seconds, with a much improved second-half performance seeing us to a 3-1 win.
Our spot in the Final Four in Nyon was therefore secured. Also there were Juventus, Benfica and Atletico Madrid. It was the Spaniards who our youngsters had to vie with for a spot in the final. It was a match to remember! A Roko Simic brace, delightful Dijon Kameri drive into the top corner and Tolgahan Sahin effort from 30 metres out sent us on our way to a sensational 5-0 win. Despite a 0-6 humbling from Benfica in the final, the journey of Rene Aufhauser & Co was an extremely impressive one.
That wasn't all. In the current season under Fabio Ingolitsch, our U19 side have again shown they can mix it with the very best. They finished second in a group with Chelsea, AC Milan and Dinamo Zagreb. At the start of February, they have the chance to beat Young Boys Bern in the Youth League play-off to move closer to the final stages once more.
ÖFB Youth Leagues
The UEFA Youth League heroes of tomorrow and potential future Champions League stars had a year to remember in 2022. Our U18 academy side took the Austrian title with six matches remaining and a historic points record - winning 22 of 24 matches and dropping just five points. Starring last season for the U18 side were three talents who have already trained with the FC Red Bull Salzburg first team on a short training camp in Malta - Tolgahan Sahin, Raphael Hofer and Zeteny Jano.
Their successors this season are enjoying similar success. After 11 matches, the side coached by Daniel Beichler have 30 points and a comfortable league lead.
As things stand, we are on course for an academy treble, which we last managed in 2021. Both the U16 team – who were pipped to the title by Rapid Vienna on goal difference in 2021/22 – and our U15 side (reigning champions) are well on top of their respective leagues!