After a hot day, it was still 27 degrees when Youssoufa Moukoko kicked the ball for the German national team for the first time on Wednesday evening. Bernd Neuendorf, President of the German Football Association (DFB), sat in the stands of the Sultan Quabus Sports Center in Muscat and experienced a historic evening with the other spectators in the stadium - at least in terms of football statistics.
At 17 years and 361 days, Moukoko is the second youngest debutant in the association's history since World War II. In the last friendly before the World Cup against Oman (1-0, half-time score 0-0) in the country's capital, national coach Hansi Flick let the young Borussia Dortmund star play from the start.
Hamburger SV legend Uwe Seeler, who died last summer, was just 17 years and 345 days old when he made his debut in 1954. Even younger than the two were only Willi Baumgärtner, who made his debut in 1909 at the age of 17 years and 104 days against England (0:9), and Marius Hiller, who made his debut in 1910 at the age of 17 years and 241 days against Switzerland (3:2 ) played his first international match.
Moukoko moved up in the list of the youngest debutants ahead of Jamal Musiala from FC Bayern, who celebrated his DFB debut last year at the age of 18 years and 27 days against Iceland (3-0) under national coach Joachim Löw. "He's just developing well. He gives a lot to a team. He's fast, he's lively, he finishes well. We're looking forward to him," said Flick about the young man from Dortmund.
It is another special statistic in Moukoko's career, who already played for the German U16 at the age of twelve. He is the youngest player in the 26-professional Flicks World Cup squad - and the youngest World Cup participant in the history of the association.
The tournament in Qatar starts next Sunday, the German team will play their first group game on Wednesday against Japan.
In the first half against Oman, Moukoko failed to impress. In general, things went badly in the German game, the team didn't develop any flow of play and lacked creativity on the offensive. Accordingly, he hardly got any balls. Sometimes Moukoko seemed like a foreign body.
However, when he got the ball in the penalty area in added time in the first half of the game, it became immediately dangerous: Moukoko shot at the post and a murmur went through the stadium. In the second half, Flick then substituted Niclas Füllkrug for Moukoko – the next debutant. The attacker from Werder Bremen had also previously only played for youth selections from the DFB.
If Moukoko also plays in Qatar, he will become the youngest German footballer to ever play in a World Cup. The attacker set the age record in the Bundesliga with his debut for BVB on November 21, 2020 in a 5-2 win over Hertha BSC one day after his 16th birthday.
Side note of the Oman game: At 29 years and 280 days, Niclas Füllkrug was the oldest outfield player to also make his debut in the DFB team in recent years. The record holder, however, is Martin Max, who was 33 years and 253 days old when he made his debut against Argentina in 2002. A late bloomer like Füllkrug, who redeemed the weak German national team with his goal in the 80th minute.