13 fun facts about Florian Wirtz

Everything you need to know about Germany and Bayer Leverkusen sensation Florian Wirtz!

Florian Wirtz is a highly talented and promising German football player who has already made a name for himself at the age of just 19. He currently plays as an attacking midfielder for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga and the German national team.

Wirtz was born on May 3, 2003, in Pulheim, Germany. He began playing football at a young age and joined the youth academy of his boyhood team FC Cologne. He quickly made an impression with his skills on the ball and his ability to create chances and score goals.

He was dubbed as the best midfielder to come through the club in 30 years by local newspaper Kolner Express, and European big-wigs were all circling after Wirtz captained boyhood team Cologne to Under-17 German Championship glory in 2019, but Leverkusen eventually won the race, and prized him from Cologne in 2020.

The then-teenage star was swiftly promoted into the first team, becoming Leverkusen’s youngest-ever debutant at the age of 17 years and 16 days, surpassing Kai Havertz’ record, in the 4-1 thrashing of Werder Bremen in 2019-20. After a handful of appearances in the coronavirus-hit campaign, Wirtz played 29 Bundesliga games, which yielded five goals and as many assists in 2020-21 campaign.

He excelled even more in the following season, contributing to 17 goals from 24 league games (7 goals, 10 assists). His development was hampered by a painful ACL injury last year that kept him sidelined for almost six months.

However, he has shown some positive signs of regaining his peak form since returning from the long injury lay-off, helping in Leverkusen's revival under boss Xabi Alonso after their wretched start to the campaign under previous management.

On international level, the 19-year-old has already earned six caps for the German national team, having made his international debut under boss Hansi Flick in the 2-0 win over Liechtenstein in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying in September, although he couldn't play a part in the finals at Qatar due to a serious injury.

At youth international level, Wirtz notably scored twice in the U21 Euro semi-final as Germany went on to win the tournament. Because of his promise, he is widely considered as one of the pillars of the national team's future, as well as one of the top talents that the country has produced in recent years.

Here are 13 fun facts about Florian Wirtz you need to know!

  1. Comes from a footballing family

    Florian Wirtz's father, Hans-Joachim, was a former football player who played in the lower leagues of German football. His father alongside his mother, Karin, are his agents. His father is the chairman of local football club SV Grun-Weiss Brauweiller, where Florian spent the early years of his fooball career before joining Cologne.

    It's clear that football runs in the family and he may have contributed to Florian's passion for the sport. His work ethic must also derive in some way from a football crazed family. What's more, is that his sister is also a professional football player.

  2. His sister also plays for Leverkusen

    The sport is ingrained in the Wirtz family. And you would be surprised to know, Florian Wirtz’s elder sister Juliane Wirtz plies her trade with Bayer Leverkusen's women’s team.

    In fact, it's Florian who followed in the footsteps of his older sister in terms of clubs. They both started their careers as youth players at Grun-Weiss Brauweiler before a move to FC Cologne and eventually their current club, Bayer Leverkusen.

    When asked about the same in an interview with Leverkusen's official website, Florian said: "We were in the same team right at the beginning although she is two years older. But after that I quickly went from Brauweiler to FC Koln and that was that. There are very few members the family who haven't played football at all. That's why football is always on TV at our place. For us, a lot of things happen around football."

  3.  Compared with Kai Havertz
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    Compared with Kai Havertz

    An attacking midfielder who is also capable of playing as a winger, Wirtz has been compared to former Bayer Leverkusen player Kai Havertz, who left Bayer Leverkusen for Chelsea in 2020, and the 18-year-old himself has admitted that his ex-teammate is a role model for him.

    "Kai is only 21 but he has proved himself at the highest level for many years: in the Bundesliga, the Champions League and now with Chelsea in the Premier League. Those are bits unpleasant for me to be compared with him as a 16 or 17-year-old. I thought he might think: 'Why they comparing such a small lad with me?' It was a bit strange for me that everything was blown up in the media although hardly anybody knew me or had seen me play. But I've always got on very well with him," said Wirtz in an interview with the club website.

    He continued: "Of course, Kai is a role model. He gave me a few good tips and I was able to learn a lot above all in training. He was definitely somebody I could look up to. I was particularly impressed with his first contact with the ball and it was better than that than anybody else in the team. That enabled him to take virtually every chance in front of goal and he was able to position himself perfectly to receive good balls."

    Having made tentative steps into the first team, upon the departure of Havertz, the 19-year-old took on the number 10 role from his predecessor and has made it his own.

  4. Idolises Messi
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    Idolises Messi

    Wirtz has admitted that he idolises Lionel Messi. The Argentine playmaker was a delight to watch at the recent World Cup, where he was the driving force behind the Albiceleste's long-awaited triumph, as he also cemented his GOAT status even further.

    “My first jersey was Messi’s Argentina jersey,” Wirtz revealed in an interview with Sky Sports Germany in April 2022.

    “When I was little, he was the best player there was at the time in the world. I watched videos of him, was a fan of his – I wanted to be as good as him.”

    It is hardly surprising that Wirtz admires Messi given the striking parallels in their playing styles. Both are technically outstanding left-footers who can play anywhere across the front line or as attacking midfielders. Their vision, dribbling, and skill on both feet make them a nightmare for opponents.

    The similarities are so apparent that Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso, who had first-hand experience of facing Messi during his time at Madrid, has compared Wirtz's brilliant movement to Messi.

  5. The second youngest ever goal-scorer in Bundesliga history

    Wirtz holds the record for being the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history as he curled home his first goal for Bayer Leverkusen in a 4-2 defeat against Bayern Munich at the tender age of 17 years and 34 days. Wirtz beat the previous record, set by Nuri Sahin at 17 and 82 days in November 2005. This record would later be surpassed by Dortmund's Youssoufa Moukoko (aged 16 years and 28 days).

    First goals are usually a special moment in a professional footballer's career, and the slick way Wirtz took his strike in only his fourth Bundesliga appearance showed a glimpse of his boundless talent.

  6. Serial Record Breaker

    Serial Record Breaker

    Wirtz is a true superstar who has made rapid progress in the footballing world. His skill and intelligence made him a standout among his peers. As you've guessed by now that he has broken plenty of records in his short career so far.

    As mentioned above, Wirtz overtook Havertz as Leverkusen’s youngest player to debut in the league before becoming the youngest goal-scorer in the German top-flight at the time.

    In February 2021, Wirtz became the first player in the league’s history to score five goals before celebrating his 18th birthday. He also became the first player under the age of 19 to score more than 10 Bundesliga goals last year.

    At the age of 18 years and 223 days, on December 15, 2021, in a 2-2 draw against Hoffenheim, he became the youngest player to make 50 appearances in the German top-flight, and he was included in the Bundesliga Team of the Season during the same 2021–22 season.

  7. Two-time Fritz Walter medal winner 🥇

    Widely considered as one of the most exciting young talents in Germany, Wirtz was hailed as the brightest German prospect in the under-17 category in 2020 when he was handed the gold Fritz Walter medal after an impressive maiden Bundesliga campaign. He received the award for the second time in 2020, but this time in the U19 category.

    "It was definitely a nice feeling. I have really been looking forward to having it in my hands. Winning this medal was a long-term goal of mine. Getting this recognition means a lot to me," said Wirtz after being handed the medal.

    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, U17, and also U18) and has been awarded alongside star names from the past, including the likes of Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rudiger, and Kai Havertz, among others.

  8. Turned down Leverkusen as a young kid
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    Turned down Leverkusen as a young kid

    Wirtz has disclosed he was already offered to join Leverkusen's youth ranks as a young kid when he was playing for Grun-Weiss Brauweiler. However, he initially chose to take the next developmental step at Cologne.

    Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes later revealed he had first watched Wirtz at the age of 13, and was immediately mesmerised by the Brauweiler-born sensation.

    "I can understand that 'FC' were disappointed and that their fans are still angry about it. But I feel very comfortable in Leverkusen," Wirtz said in an interview with Bild about his choice to leave Cologne for Leverkusen.

    "I had to look at my future and my perspective, and when I look back, it was the right decision. At 'FC', I wasn't even thinking about playing for the professionals at that point, it was very far away," explained Wirtz.

    Ultimately, Leverkusen and Wirtz were meant to be as he couldn't turn down the German giants the second time around, and made the switch to BayArena, which has paid dividends so far.

  9. School comes first 🏫
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    School comes first 🏫

    A professional footballer one day and a school student the next day. Every teenager would’ve dreamt of this for flaunting and show-off purposes. It was a reality for Wirtz. His brilliance on the pitch meant he was already a professional footballer in his high school.

    He was a regular for Leverkusen and an exam made him miss a Europa League game against Slavia Prague, while the youngster had to take a teacher alongside him when he was with the senior national team in March 2021 since he was preparing for A-Levels. What a story that was. The school does come first for Wirtz, but juggling both hasn't been an easy task for him at all.

    "I have to admit that it is exhausting managing both at the same time. I know that I have to approach my studies and football with the same amount of energy, even though football comes a bit more naturally to me. But I realise that I don't have much time left in my studies and I cannot give up so close to the end," Wirtz said in an interview with the German Football Association in 2021.

  10. Barcelona is his dream club
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    Barcelona is his dream club

    With his exploits at such a tender age, Wirtz has surely caught the eye of Europe's elite sides given he's a high-ceiling, high-potential talent, and should the highly-rated midfielder want to take the step to a bigger club in the future, he would reportedly prefer a move to Barcelona.

    "As a little boy, I always wanted to play for Barcelona. Nothing has changed in this regard, but until then I still have some time," Wirtz disclosed in an interview with Sport Bild.

  11. Varied off-field interests 🚤

    Wirtz is also a lively person off the pitch. In his holiday breaks, he can be seen engaging in a lot of water adventure things, including swimming, boating, and jet-skiing on the beaches of Germany. He also loves playing video games, including FIFA, traveling, reading books, and playing Billiards. In terms of which cars he likes, he was once spotted with a black Mercedes-Benz at a refilling station.

  12. Boasts a classy fashion sense 🕶️

    Wirtz has been known to have an interest in fashion and boasts a great sense of style and clash both on and off the pitch. He has been spotted wearing some trendy outfits. He has been seen wearing stylish clothes like slim-fit suits, denim jackets, and sneakers.

    Wirtz is sponsored by Adidas, one of the largest sportswear companies in the world. He has been seen wearing Adidas boots and clothing both on and off the pitch, as part of his endorsement deal with the company, while also featuring in several of their commercial videos.

    You can check out all of the above-mentioned details on his Instagram.

  13. In-demand talent 🚨
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    In-demand talent 🚨

    The teenager's current contract at Leverkusen runs until 2027, but it seems unlikely that the youngster will see out the rest of his contract at his current club. Leverkusen have developed a niche of nurturing young, budding stars before selling them to European big-wigs for eye-watering profits.

    However, the Wirtz family does not seem readily persuaded by more lucrative offers from other teams. Europe's top clubs have been lining up for quite some time and if Leverkusen do not qualify for European football this season then the offers will likely increase.

    Wirtz's father Hans-Joachim, who is also his son's agent, comes as music to the ears of the Leverkusen hierarchy and their fans.

    "Florian has a long-term contract with Bayer. We are interested in fulfilling as much of it as possible," Hans-Joachim said recently. "Of course, every young player wants to play with the best but until the Euros in 2024 Florian is best placed at Leverkusen."