A good year and a half ago, Moritz Jenz described his career goal to the transfermarkt.de portal as follows: "I want to be the player you absolutely need to complete your Panini booklet." At that time, the tall central defender was still playing for FC Lausanne in Switzerland, so it wasn't one that you get three Haalands or two Messis for in the schoolyard.

In the meantime, however, Jenz should appear in many a collection, because he has been playing in the Champions League since this season.

And this Wednesday (6.45 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for the Champions League and on DAZN) brings the native of Berlin back to Germany for the first time in years.

With the Celtic Football Club from Glasgow, Scotland, the 23-year-old meets RB Leipzig.

For many German football fans, this will be their first encounter with this two-footed centre-back who doesn't see himself as someone "trying to ruin the game".

Instead, Jenz wants to boost the offensive with sharp passes, like his “role model” Jérôme Boateng did at his best.

What fits well: Boateng is also a central defender, he also comes from Berlin, and he also played for Tennis Borussia when he was young.

But what happened next could hardly be more different.

While Boateng played through the Hertha youth in the Bundesliga and national team, Jenz went to FC Fulham at the age of 16.

He stayed in London for five years, was captain of the second team at times, but it wasn't enough for the Premier League.

In 2020 he then moved to Lausanne, where Jenz earned the nickname "Duel Monster".

Because despite all the joy in the well-groomed opening of the game, he can certainly get there.

But what he had to learn first.

Once ahead of its time

"Moritz was ahead of his time as a youth player, it was too easy for him," former Fulham coach Peter Grant told The Sun newspaper.

Life off the field also had to change, fast food and video games were standard for a long time, as Jenz himself once said.

But there was nothing more to be seen in Lausanne, after his year in Switzerland he had various offers.

He opted for FC Lorient, the French paid 3.5 million euros.

There, too, Jenz played from the start, was part of the team that wrested a 1-1 draw from Paris Saint-Germain with Messi and Co.

But after that, Jenz increasingly sat outside.

When Celtic asked for a loan deal this summer, he moved on to Scotland.

There he met midfielder Matt O'Riley, an old companion from Fulham and "my best friend", as Jenz puts it.

"When we were young, we said: Maybe one day we'll play in the Champions League with a big club.

It's happening now, it's fantastic," said Jenz at his presentation in Glasgow and was generally not stingy with praise for his new employer.

regular place won

The green and white jersey with the shamrock is something special, Celtic is a "giant" in European football.

Which is true in terms of history and supporters, thousands of Celtic fans are also expected in Leipzig.

But in purely sporting terms, things are becoming increasingly difficult for the 1967 European Cup winners, this season the Scots have qualified for the group stage of the Champions League for the first time in five years.

There they only lasted 60 minutes against Real Madrid on the first day of the game, in the end it was 0:3.

Then there was a 1-1 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk.

The problem, as so often, is money.

In the domestic league there is little information about the TV contract, only the derbies between Celtic and local rivals Rangers attract national interest.

Glasgow teams have been the only champions since 1986, and unsurprisingly they are back at the top of the league.

Which is also because of the money.

The fact that Celtic is at the top also has something to do with Moritz Jenz.

After sitting outside on matchday one, he was allowed to play on matchday two and headed in the winning goal just before the end.

In the game after that he scored again.

In Glasgow they thought they had discovered a jewel.

It didn't go on like this, but Jenz - also because others are injured - fought for a regular place for the time being.

And it shouldn't stay that way, he dreams of the national team.

He would also be eligible to play for Nigeria because of his father, but he chose Germany.

At some point he also wants to play in the Bundesliga.

On Wednesday evening in Leipzig he can imagine his old homeland.