Germany U21 captain Jonathan Burkardt is the talk of his club town at the moment.
One half of the striking tandem Mainz locals label “Johnny-si-wo” spoke to Carsten Schröter-Lenz of German footballing magazine Kicker about a phone call he recently received from German national team head-coach Hansi Flick.
Many expected FSV Mainz 05 striker Jonathan Burkardt to receive his first call-up to the Germany’s senior side over the international break. Burkardt, together with striking partner Karim Onisiwo, is an absolutely blistering club form at the moment. The Mainz locals find themselves enamored with the pair and xhave dubbed them “Johnny-si-wo.”
Burkardt’s streak of scoring in four consecutive matches on the bounce came to an end Friday evening against Gladbach. The 21-year-old still turned in an impressive performance. A game without scoring hardly put the damper on his incredible five goals and two assists in the four matches prior.
“Karim makes its easier for both of us up front,” Burkardt modestly noted when contacted by German footballing magazine Kicker, “I’ve had a bit more finishing luck and gotten into good positions.”
The youngster confirmed that Bundestrainer Flick had indeed contacted him towards the end of last week.
“I had two missed calls from an unknown number,” Burkardt said, “I’ve had problems with water damage, so I thought it was the plumbing service. I called back. No one answered. Then he called back again. I had no idea it was Flick.”
Germany’s national team trainer had called to congratulate Burkardt on his fine form, whilst also explaining that he thought that the U21 squad remained the best place for him at this time.
“He told me that I was on the radar,” Burkardt recounted, “I really appreciate that he called me personally.”
Flick had indeed been in attendance when Mainz kicked off the 2021/22 Bundesliga’s ninth league round with a 4-1 win over Augsburg at home. As impressive as Burkardt’s scorers brace and assist had been in that game, however, the national team trainer needed to see more consistent form.
Burkardt didn’t seem bothered by this. In point of fact, he said he looked forward to gaining more practice with Antonio di Salvo and the U21 squad.
“We specifically practice finishes in the penalty are to improve there,” he said, “I’m really looking forward to that again now as it’s a great form of practice for the strikers,”
As for the assignment itself, Burkardt made clear that he didn’t consider it a snub.
“You have to work for a national team call up,” he noted, “It’s part of a process that every player has to go through.”
Asked if he considered himself a “seasoned”, Burkardt remarked that his 52 appearances at the top level were likely too little.
“You can say that after 100 Bundesliga games,” he insisted, “For now, I’ve arrived in Mainz and have a starting spot. That’s what’s important.”
It may not take another 48 top-tier appearances for the “Hansi Flick Plumbing Service” to contact Burkardt again.
For now, the striker nevertheless appears content where he is.