A player like Thomas Broich needs no introduction.
A player like Thomas Broich needs no introduction.
It-s hard to believe the German has been in Australia for less than two years, such has been his influence at the Brisbane Roar club which culminated in his two late assists, setting up both Henrique and Erik Paartalu-s comeback goals, in last season-s stunning Hyundai A-League Grand Final victory.
His career has spanned 12 years, six clubs and two continents, all of which can be seen in the recently-released documentary on Broich-s life, Tom Meets Zizou.
Brisbaneroar.com.au caught up with Broich, one of the most intriguing characters in Australian football, before training on Tuesday afternoon to ask your chosen questions from Facebook and Twitter.
1. You-re one of the most fouled players in the A-League. Do you feel like you have a target on your back when you play? How do you keep your composure?
I-m just a very peaceful person, I never lose it. I don-t feel like I-m being targeted, it-s just the way I play, I like to keep the ball and dribble at people. It-s just normal to get fouled a lot. There-s no difference between now and when I first arrived, I still remember being fouled early on. My first game against the Gold Coast, I still remember some of the tackles from that game. It-s just the style not my reputation I guess.
2. How tough was it being on the sidelines with your recent injury? What was the exact nature of the injury and was it made easier with James Meyer and Henrique injured with you?
Actually, it does make it easier – having to do all the Kenny drills by yourself, it kills you! Having two guys doing it with me and having someone to talk to, that helps but at the same time it hurts badly to sit on the sideline and watch the boys, especially losing games. But even winning games, it was terrible. I really enjoyed watching the game against the Victory but I wasn-t involved so that hurt too. The exact nature of the injury was not 100 per cent clear, it was a bit of a bruising and maybe a little tear. It-s just that kind of injury that restricts your movement and until it-s gone, you can-t move properly and you can-t play.
3. Which team in the A-League do you think is hardest to beat? How do you rate your team-s chances of finishing top of the league and winning the grand final again?
I always found it hard to play against the Victory but when I watched the last game, the boys beat them quite easily. I think the league is generally is very competitive. We-ve lost against almost team and we-ve beaten almost every team so I think due to the salary cap it-s a pretty even league. Winning the league will definitely be very tough because the Mariners are playing so consistently. The beautiful thing about Australia is having the finals so I think we can manage finishing second in the league and we-ll have the semi-final and grand final again in Brisbane. I-m pretty confident of that because I think we-ve got the best team in the league and still very convinced in our style of play. It-s going to be tough and I really rate the Mariners as a team. They-re very compact and they know how to win games but from a football point of view, maybe not a result point of view, I think our style is more fluent and better to watch. If we manage to capitalise on the chances that we create, we-re a danger to every team and we can certainly beat the Mariners.
4. What does your footballing future hold? How much longer do you see yourself playing and what else do you want to accomplish?
I don-t have any particular goals anymore, I just want to enjoy myself. I went through a tough phase playing football in Germany and I just don-t want to feel that again. I love my football here and I don-t see a reason why I can-t play here for another five or six years. Obviously, winning is beautiful and I love this team and it would be nice to win the league or championship again, but it-s not that I consider a year a failure if I don-t win anything or if I play not as well as I usually could. I just want to work hard and enjoy myself. Having said that, I-m excited about playing in Asia. It-s a whole new experience, I-ve never played in Champions League football before or European football at an international level so I-m excited to travel, see the world and play against teams with a different mentality and different style. I-ve got something to prove at a higher level and it-s something to look forward to.
5. How does the culture of Brisbane Roar compare to the other clubs you-ve played at?
What I really like about this club is that everyone is so modest, so humble, so hard-working and just good guys. It-s probably harder to play overseas where it-s more competitive and there-s more money involved and probably everyone-s ego is a little bit bigger than here. I really enjoy it when I enter the dressing room and it-s a group of equals. Our dressing room culture is very, very good. I really enjoy this life. It-s been there since day one and that-s one of the reasons we-ve been that successful. We address things that aren-t working for us, maybe people aren-t disciplined, we don-t just give each other hugs every day. We still have an arguing culture as well but the way we do it is very good. Nobody is offensive.
6. Were you happy with the way your documentary turned out? Is there anything you wished they had included or excluded?
No, I-m happy with the way it is. It was a bigger success than we expected it to be and the sales were amazing and the reviews as well. I-m happy with what-s in it and what he [director and producer Aljoscha Pause] decided not to put in it. I had the last word but when he showed it to me, I said ‘I-m happy, this is fine- so I didn-t tell him to cut anything out.
7. A theme in Tom Meets Zizou was how you like to avoid the spotlight. You-re currently being heralded as one of the best A-League players ever. Is that something you want to avoid?
Honestly, I really want to avoid this. I don-t want any sort of pressure or any sort of expectations. Obviously I enjoy being considered a good player but I don-t feel I have to prove anything to anyone. I think that helps me playing at this level. I have a pretty good idea myself if I have a good game or not and certainly if I don-t stick to the game plan, the gaffer will tell me and that is all I want to listen to – my inner voice and my teammates and the gaffer. Obviously, I take some pride in people thinking I-m one of the best players in the league, I don-t want to deny that because it-s a pleasant feeling, but I don-t read any newspapers or watch any TV. It-s not that important to me.
8. Let-s talk about music. How long have you been playing the guitar and what are your favourite songs to play on the guitar?
I-ve been playing for a few years now but I-m still learning. I play the piano too, which I love. I learnt the piano when I was young and then I stopped and then I picked it up again. Its hard work for me but it-s good to have something different off the pitch so it-s almost like meditation for me when I play music. My favourite music is probably singer/songwriter stuff. I don-t write my own music though, not at all!
9. Have you gotten into any ‘Australian- sports while you-ve been here? What do you think of cricket, AFL, rugby..?
Not yet, I-ve only been to one game of the [Queensland] Reds. I enjoyed that but I-m not really a sports person in general. I don-t watch golf or tennis or even football, I don-t watch it that much. I watch Champions League but that-s about it. I don-t even watch a lot of A-League games, not at all. Off the pitch, I like to play music, talk to friends and relax.
10. How do you rate Brisbane as a city compared to the other places you-ve lived and travelled to? Where are your favourite places to relax, eat, etc?
I like that it-s so laidback and the Brisbane lifestyle is really great. I mean, the city isn-t obviously the most beautiful one that I-ve seen – I like Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, there are so many places in Europe that are really, really pretty, even Munich, my hometown, is really pretty. But I think most of the European cities are really hectic and not as laidback and relaxed as Brisbane is and that-s what I enjoy about the city. There are plenty of places I like to go, I live at Southbank and there are heaps of restaurants and bars around within walking distance. I like Alloneword and Press Club in the Valley, listening to good live music, I love to relax there. I don-t do too many coast trips because you have to drive for an hour or so and if I have the day off, I don-t want to sit in my car for two hours. I prefer the city beach at Southbank. I do go there quite often to be honest, Australians keep telling me it-s not a proper beach but growing up in Germany, it almost feels like a beach.