How Broich Found His Roar

Washed up and depressed, Thomas Broich arrived in Australia four years ago on a last gasp gamble to rediscover his missing mojo. Since then, Brisbane Roar has been the making of Thomas Broich – and Thomas Broich has been the making of Brisbane Roar. He tells Kat Caravella how the A-League changed his life.

When Thomas Broich agreed to be the subject of a documentary, he was touted as German football’s next big thing. Tom meets Zizou had all the makings of a young footballer’s rise to stardom; the film’s star clearly destined for the big time.

The film was designed to have a fairytale ending; one that would capture Broich hitting the big time. But when his football journey didn’t go quite as planned, the German midfielder found himself embarking on an eight year, filmed expedition of self-discovery. 

And while he earnestly describes the film as the "fall of a footballer", he’s a big believer that his rocky path to Brisvegas gave him the ultimate gift, one that top-flight German football never did: Happiness.

The football story of Thomas Broich started on the streets of Bavaria. It was 1990 and World Cup Fever was in the air. “There was a certain buzz, everyone was just so excited. We would watch games together; there were German flags everywhere; loud music; dancing on the street… we had a great team back then”, he recalls.

“I idolised all those players and wanted to be like them.”

When Germany were crowned World Cup Champions, nine-year-old Thomas Broich was officially hooked. But success came relatively late for the playmaker, admitting he wasn’t the most gifted or physically strong player coming through the ranks.

“Many people doubted me, so real signs of potential success came pretty late. I had to work my way up the ladder,” he says.

With a supportive mother driving him long distances to play football, his father was more of a realist, Thomas admits. “Almost every young boy wants to be a footballer. What are the chances of making it, really?”

Famously labeled the ‘thinking man’s footballer’, Thomas’s back–up plan was to study physics at university. And while he admits it may sound like a “naïve, childish dream”, he always knew football was his only calling.

“I do think belief played a big part in my being a footballer”, he says, thoughtfully. “I read a lot about how the brain works and I guess once you can see things happen in your mind… there’s a good chance they’ll happen in real life.”

At 19, Broich signed a minimum-wage contract with Division 3 club SV Wacker Burghausen, and it was this move that saw him begin to prove his doubters wrong.

“Personally, I had an amazing year – we all did. And for the first time, the focus was on me,” he explains. “I made the German U21s, so Bundesliga clubs started showing interest.

“At that point it was apparent to everyone that I had a good chance of making it.”

The hugely successful spell at SV Wacker Burghausen led to Broich’s first Bundesliga contract with Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he was instantly adored by fans and media alike – even being dubbed a ‘beacon of hope’ for the German national team.

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This feature first appeared in the July 2014 issue of FourFourTwo - but for an in-depth look behind the scenes at what makes Brisbane Roar win, get the NEW October issue of FourFourTwo out on Thursday, September 18. As well as an eight-page special on Roar, we also look behind the scenes at the all-new Melbourne City, preview the new season of the A-League and analyse EVERY club and talk to their star players, chat to David Gallop about the league's successes and failures since its launch, find out about the new row to hit fans and the FFA, spotlight the five star signings set to light up the A-League, make our top six predictions...and bring you the ULTIMATE top ten of A-League top tens to celebrate the 10th season! DON'T MISS IT...out on Thursday, September 18!

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