With Bayern in America

Series – Part 44: Ivan Mihaljevic about his time at NLZ from Spvgg.Unterhaching and at Bayern Munich, summer vacations with gloom and aspirations for the future +++ Travel and matches with FCB stars as highlights

Evan has always been passionate about football. He started playing football at the age of five, initially as a goalkeeper. After some club changes, due to friends and a move, he ended up at DJK Pasing in youth D. Meanwhile, his usual position shifted to central defense and Mikhaljevic thrived under coach Markus Oberlettner. A leap came for both: when Oberleitner was offered the position of sporting director in the Essentials area at his former club SpVgg Unterhaching, Mihaljevic took over with him. Since then, the twelve-year-old defender’s New Zealand League stint with new footballer Karim Adeyemi, among others, has begun.

With training three times a week and one match on the weekend, there was not much time left for special things like meeting friends, except for school. Evan was aware that there would be more, but given the good environment at Haching and his kind mates, there was no problem for him to give up too much time for it. “Despite the amount of time it took me to do it, it was fun and I never thought I would. My friends and my successes were also a good match for that,” jokes Evan.

Holidays: train instead of chilling

The only thing that bothered him a little bit was the summer vacation “Everyone got out of school and looking forward to summer and rest, I had to go to bootcamp instead.”

Every now and then he was allowed out of school to play matches for the Croatian national team. He had two each in U18 and U19. After six years as team captain, Mihaljevic left the family environment at SpVgg and moved to FC Bayern Munich in the U19s.

A new world on the Bavaria campus

The new environment for the German record champion was completely different than in Hachingen. “The level was different in Hutching, there were two or three very good players, but in Bayern everyone was at a high level.” The Bayern campus, which was still very new at the time, offered almost every opportunity for training and recreation. With private training facilities, saunas, swimming pools and plenty of medical staff, Bayern’s NLZ can’t be compared to Hachinger, Mihaljevic recalls.

Different possibilities and different requirements

Of course, all this is necessary when you have to take part in three competitions at the same time at the age of 17. And Mihaljevich describes it in short: “Other options but also other requirements.”

At the same time, the 18-year-old mastered his Abitur with a good average. It was never difficult for him to maintain a balance between school and sports or even to be under pressure. “I learned to manage my time properly and I am also used to other types of stress from football. You learn to manage time better through sports.”

America’s Journey as a highlight

After graduating from high school, the Croatian German went on a trip to America with Bayern Munich, which remains one of the highlights of his youthful career to this day. “Playing and training alongside the pros, some of whom are idols, was great.” Mihaljevic also appeared twice in the professional group alongside Goretzka, Thomas Müller, Niklas Süle and Thiago Alcantara – in a friendly match against AC Milan. In the first half, he participated in Joshua Kimmich and did not concede any goal in the defensive alliance with Niklas Sule.

A week later, he replaced Kingsley Coman in the Audi Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur shortly before the end. his opponent? Harry Kane is certain.

At the beginning of 2020, Evan was loaned to Holstein Kiel with an option to buy, but due to the first shutdown and the accompanying absences, he participated in only six matches in the Junior Bundesliga North before returning to Munich. Due to lack of playing time at Bayern Munich, Mikhaljevic decided to switch to TSV Steinbach Haiger on the recommendation of his advisor.

From a million to a small town

Adjusting from Munich to the small town of Heiger is massive and not for everyone, but there are also positive things to report. “Other players on the team sometimes complain that the shops they come from are open until eleven or twelve, but if you’re from Munich, you’re happy about which one is still open after eight.”

The family environment, good communication with fans and the board also reminds him of his time with Haching.

With TSV, he played the last two at Regionalliga Südwest for promotion, but it hasn’t worked out so far. This may be due, among other things, to the fact that Ivan has been able to play fewer matches this season than usual due to inflammation of the pubic bone and was also sometimes used in the second division of Verbandsliga. “It’s always annoying to get hurt, it just sets you back.”

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