Hendrik Weydandt – From the Kreisliga to the Bundesliga

It only took 81 seconds. Hendrik Weydandt was brought onto the pitch in gridlocked match by Hannover coach André Breitenreiter. From there on out things progressed quickly. One quick pass and suddenly the 23-year-old was on his way through on goal. With his first touch of the ball the 1 meter 95 cm striker nutmegged Werder’s keeper Pavlenka with his first touch of the match.

After 23 minutes of playing time the tall striker has scored three goals for The Reds(1 in the Bundesliga, 2 in the Pokal first round match). So far he can’t believe his meteoric rise from 8th tier football to the Bundesliga. He told Bild:

“It’s unusual, given that I have been sitting on my coach having watched the Bundesliga all these years. And suddenly I’m on TV myself.”

Four years ago Weydandt enjoyed life in the 8th tier at TSV Groß Munzel. Through good performances the striker managed to get a contract at then 5th tier side 1. FC Germania Egestorf/Langreder in 2014. Two years later Weydandt helped his club to gain promotion to the Regionalliga. During his four years at Egestorf the attacker managed to score 46 goals in 108 matches in the 5th and 4th tier.

At the start of the current season the 23-year-old was signed to help Hannover’s U23 side in the Regionalliga Nord. However, coach André Breitenreiter saw something special in the new striker and promoted him to the first team. His journey has been unusual according to Weydandt:

“It’s incredible. Until I was 18 years old all I wanted to do was to play football with the lads from my village. The first time I joined the first team I had to look around in the locker room, because they were so many rooms beside the main locker.”

Weydandt’s journey from the nether regions of German football to the top is uncommon. Indeed, he is one of the few German players currently playing in the Bundesliga who hasn’t been produced by a youth academy. Even joining Hannover’s second team was a huge step up according to the striker, he told Bundesliga.com:

“Even just in the summer it was a huge adjustment for me being in the Hannover U-23 side because I’d never played for a professional club or even been in a youth academy. My thought process at the time was: ‘OK, you need to soak everything up. Try to do things right from the beginning because first impressions are lasting’.”

Staying grounded

After his sudden arrival on the main stage of German football Weydandt was awarded with a professional contract by Hannover 96. During his time at Egestorf the striker was making roughly 400 Euros per month. After his father had negotiated a new deal with Martin Kind, his wages have now been increased to 15,000 Euros per month.

Despite his new-found wealth Weydandt has decided to keep living with his former teammates Yannik Oelmann and Torben Engelking.

“I like to do stuff together with those lads. It’s nice to get home from training and to lead a normal life.”

Weydandt has also kept studying after he joined Hannover 96. This month he’s actually going to hand in his bachelor thesis to get a degree in business administration studies.

“I’m looking forward to having something to show for the last three years of hard work. I never considered not finishing my bachelor thesis.”

Hendrik Weydandt

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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