Bayern Munich continued their push to improve their youth system by signing one of Germany’s top young talents, penning 18-year-old Paul Zipser to a four-year contract with immediate effect.
Zipser comes to Munich from ProA second division side MLP Academics Heidelberg, where he has only played two games this season due to a foot injury. But the Heidelberg native is still a huge prospect from the 1994 class and one already high on NBA scout radars.
“We are very happy that Paul Zipser – one of the most interesting European talents – decided for us despite many offers from in and outside of Germany. Paul plays an important role in our future plans,” said Bayern manager Marko Pesic.
“I am very happy about the new challenge in Munich and the professional surroundings at FC Bayern,” Zipser told the Bayern website while on a visit of the Audi Dome on Thursday.
“As a young German player, it’s a great opportunity to play with this kind of club and practice with Svetislav Pesic.”
And he got into the spirit of the club right away, posting the famous Bayern saying “Mia san Mia!!! (We are who we are) #fcb” on his Facebook page.
Zipser was quoted on Heidelberg’s team page as saying: “The chance that Bayern Munich was offering me was unique – a top address with high and interesting perspectives. I just could not say no. I grew up in Heidelberg and will gladly remember those times.”
Heidelberg manager Matthias Lautenschläger said of the move: “We would have liked to have finished the season with Paul, but we accept the current development. In the end, it’s a special distinction for the club’s youth work by Alexander Schönhals when such a talent – like back then with Danilo Barthel – is courted by such a big club. We are happy having been an important part of maybe a big career of one of our players and wish Paul all the best for his future.”
There is little question about Zipser’s talent level – and also very little question about him coming back from the injury. Even his choosing Bayern was not that big of a surprise considering the name and prospects of the club as well that one of his close friends Mauricio Marin signed with Munich last off-season.
Many thought Zipser would move to Bayern last season as well, but he decided to return to Heidelberg for another season.
The fact that he has missed nearly the entire season would seem to have cost Zipser a lot of money in his contract talks. With the prospects of the 6+6 Germans regulation about to take effect for the 2012-13 season, all BBL clubs were desperately on the lookout for any high level German talent and willing to dish out big money.
This of course is not saying that Zipser’s contract is not worthy of his talent. But it would seem that Bayern struck at exactly the right time – when they knew the health of his foot and before he could really prove himself on the court and attempt to re-establish his market value.
The biggest question about the move is where Zipser will play next season. The easiest thought is Bayern’s second team. The problem is that Munich’s second team is only in the fourth division – 1st Regionalliga. Even if they earn promotion – they are tied for second at 10-4 while Body Street Baunach lead at 10-3 in a 26-game season – Munich would only play ProB next season. That is actually a step lower than where Zipser is playing now.
Last season as a 17/18-year-old, Zipser averaged 7.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.0 blocks in the ProA. In his first game of this season, Zipser collected 12 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks before getting injured in the second contest in early October.
It would make sense for Bayern to send Zipser to the second team this season to secure them certain promotion – to give other top level talents better competition to help develop. The Bayern second team includes Marin, Bogdan Radosavljevic, Julius Wolf, Malo Valerien and Tim Hasbergen.
The next logical answer would be to send Zipser on loan to another club for one season next season. Munich did that this season and Philipp Schwethelm earned a starting bid at the All-Star game for his showings at ratiopharm ulm and Bastian Doreth has helped TBB Trier become one of the top surprises in the BBL this season.
With those relationships already set up with Ulm coach Thorsten Leibenath and Trier boss Henrik Rödl, a loan to one of those two sides wouldn’t be a surprise.
One thing is for certain, Bayern went out and caught themselves a big fish which will feed them for many years down the road.