Bayern Munich believed they had unearthed a special talent in Greuther Furth academy kid Timothy Tillman in 2015.
The then 16-year-old had been monitored by Marco Neppe, the serial German champions’ now-technical director who has also been responsible for identifying youngsters including Alphonso Davies, now 21, and Jamal Musiala, 19.
It was only when they started doing their due diligence on Timothy that Bayern realised he had a younger brother called Malik who, while just 13 years, was also an outstanding prospect.
On many such occasions, a superclub of Bayern’s stature might simply have informed their scouts to keep tabs on the younger brother for the next few years, but Malik was different.
So different that then-sporting director Michael Reschke personally travelled up from Munich to change the conversation from being about one Tillman joining Bayern to bringing the entire family.
Nuremberg, the second largest city in Bavaria, is just over 100 miles (169km) north of Munich, the largest. Moving was a huge decision for the Tillmans to make.
“For two young boys, when they hear Bayern Munich want to sign them their eyes light up, as it’s a dream. They immediately want to go. But it was their mother we had to convince,” Reschke tells The Athletic.
Their mother brought the boys up as their father is in the American military and based in the United States. She was protective of her teenage sons and wary of the pitfalls of such a move, but Bayern sought to reassure her that Timothy and Malik would have the best of everything to help them forge playing careers at the top level.