Julian Brandt was born on 2 May 1996 in Bremen. He made his first steps in football when he joined local club SC Borgfeld at the age of five. From 2009 to 2011, the attacker played two seasons at FC Oberneuland before the attacking midfielder moved to the youth set-up of VfL Wolfsburg, where, in 2013, he was a member of the team that won the U19 German Championship.
In January 2014, he committed his future to Bayer Leverkusen, who handed him his Bundesliga debut only a few weeks later at just 17 years of age (15 February 2014 against Schalke 04). Only three days later, his UEFA Champions League debut followed when he came on as a substitute against Paris St. Germain. The upward trajectory of Brandt’s incredible career showed no signs of slowing down. As the 2014/15 season wore on, the technically gifted and nimble-footed youngster pinned down a regular place in the Leverkusen starting XI. On 29 May 2016, just weeks after his 20th birthday, he won his first senior cap for Germany in a friendly match against Slovakia. Later that same year, he travelled to the Rio Olympics with the German Olympic team, where he helped Germany to a silver medal finish.
In an edition at the end of July 2020, kicker magazine devoted its front page to him: "Not all that many footballers are blessed with as much talent as Julian Brandt. Dortmund's dribbler wows the fans," wrote the football magazine, before describing scenes from the game against Leipzig in December 2019, which was later voted as "Goal of the Month" by viewers of the ARD-Sportschau programme. "Three actions in one fluid movement, South American silkiness combined with ice-cold efficiency – a masterpiece."
"I came to Dortmund simply because it was simply what I wanted to do. I never wanted to play for just one club," said Julian Brandt following his transfer in the summer of 2019. Four years later, he extended his contract and stressed: "Everyone knows that I feel very comfortable here. I never had any conversations or listened to other offers. It was clear to me from the outset that I continue to see myself at BVB, and that's how I went into the negotiations."
At heart, he remains a grounded family man who spends as much time as possible with his parents in Bremen or his brother Jannis in Cologne, which helps him in his privileged working life. He listens to his mum Heike, a former handball player, and to his dad Jürgen, who gives his now famous son proper and professional advice whenever it is needed. "I always try to remind myself of why we all play football: it’s because it gave us so much joy back when we were little kids,'' says Brandt as he discusses his motivation. "The worst thing I can possibly imagine is playing football and no longer enjoying it. If that were ever to happen, I’d have to come to terms with the fact that I’d lost touch with the starting point for everything."
"This cool blond guy wearing the number 19", wrote kicker on 26 July 2020, "is considered the man for the special moments. A difference-maker. And a risk-taker. A fun footballer who makes the hard stuff look so easy and has made effortlessness his trademark. You can see why Diego of all people ("The Bremen one, not Maradona," as Brandt wittily remarked on BVB TV) is his role model. The Brazilian also possessed the gift of doing extraordinary things on the pitch." Just like Julian Brandt does today. He is an expert at pinging long passes in behind, but is equally adept from set-piece situations. In the 2021/22 season, seven of his set-pieces led to BVB goals in the league, up from five the following year.
With nine goals (a personal record for a season), he was the joint-top scorer at BVB in the 2022/23 season, together with Sébastien Haller and Donyell Malen. His shooting efficiency was the third best in the league, having taken less than five shots per goal. He was directly involved in 17 goals – the most in the team.