KKS Lech Poznań have surprised a few people this season with their UEFA Europa League performances, taking points off more fancied group rivals Juventus and Manchester City FC on their way to qualification into the round of 32, and the Polish club will hope such results inspire their youth players when they host the Lech Cup on 11 and 12 December.
The indoor tournament, first staged in 2006, has been growing in stature each year and is now regarded as one of the biggest youth competitions in central and eastern Europe. The age groups involved have moved up a generation every season, from Under-8s in the inaugural event to U12s this time around.
Explaining the main objectives behind the event, tournament director Piotr Łukaszewski told the UEFA Training Ground: "Our aim is to organise an U12s sports competition of the highest level in accordance with our philosophy 'train with the best and play against the best'.
"We want to promote indoor football as a way to spend free time and a model of upbringing through the sport. The competition also helps us to establish contacts with some of the best centres of football schooling in Europe as well as exchange and integrate coaching philosophies."
Last year's tournament, for U11s, was won by Hamburger SV who triumphed 2-1 in an all-German final against Hertha BSC Berlin. The Lech Cup's enhanced reputation was borne out by the presence of youth sides from leading clubs around Europe including FC Barcelona and S.S. Lazio.
The 12-team lineup this season is headed by champions Hamburg, who will be joined by VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hertha, SK Slavia Praha, Sporting Clube de Portugal, FK Senica, Fulham FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC, BV Vitesse, FC Dynamo Kyiv, a Polish U12 national team selection and hosts Lech.
The two-day event will feature 36 games of five players a side, with each match comprising two halves of ten minutes until the final, which will be contested over two 12-minute periods.
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