First Team

“Craziest six months of my life”

David Odogu reflects on the highlight of his career so far.

David Odogu vom VfL Wolfsburg mit der deutsche U17 Nationalmanschaft.

David Odogu recently achieved something only one Wolfsburg player had ever previously done: winning the U17 European Championship with Germany in what was the country’s first triumph at the tournament since 2009. Back then, players like Mario Götze, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Wolfsburg’s Kevin Scheidhauer were in Germany’s squad.

Countless messages

“It’s cool to see that a while ago such global stars were in the same position that I’m in now,” said the 17-year-old. “But I know that I’m only at the start of my journey and that there’s still a lot of hard work to do. I had 200-300 messages on my mobile phone.” The party continued afterwards at the DFB’s official banquet, where the player’s family, who had travelled to Budapest especially for the final, were also present.

“Everyone put their ego in the background”

The 1.90-metre defender was not a first-team regular for Germany, but did make one start and another brief appearance. “It’s been a big adjustment,” Odogu said. “First, you have to get used to not being the centre of attention. But the team objective was so big and important that everyone put their ego in the background.”

Next step

Winning the U17 European Championship may have been the most memorable highlight of the season, but it was one of several. “It was the craziest six months of my life - so many cool things have happened in the past few months,” Odogu said.

The defender, who has both German and Nigerian ancestry, was invited to the first-team training camp at the start of the year, helped the U17s finish as runners-up in the league, and received a maiden call-up by head coach Niko Kovac to the first team’s matchday squad on 30 April for the home game against Mainz.

“I can still remember that day very clearly,” Odogu said, smiling. “I was getting ready for an away game with the U19s. When I arrived at the meeting point, the coach took me to one side and told me that I was in the first-team squad.”

It was the next step en route to his primary objective: “I still have a very long way to go, but moments like this give you unbelievable self-confidence and make the dream tangible. Now it’s just important that I don’t rest on my laurels.”