''I went to Dortmund simply because it was what I felt like doing. I never wanted to play for just one club,'' says Julian Brandt. The talented midfielder draws strength from the joy he finds in his profession and sees himself first and foremost as a team player. ''You have to get used to not necessarily playing all the time.''
The Germany international signed with Borussia Dortmund on 1 June 2019. At his previous club, Bayer Leverkusen, he made 156 Bundesliga appearances and scored 34 goals. As of February 2020, he has been capped 31 times for his country.
Julian Brandt was born on 2 May 1996 in Bremen. He made his first steps in the game of football when he joined local club SC Borgfeld at five years of age. From 2009 to 20111, he played for FC Oberneuland (Borussia Dortmund’s opponents in the first round of the 2012/13 DFB Cup) before moving 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, where, just a few weeks after signing, he made his first Bundesliga appearance at just 17 years of age (15 February 2014 against Schalke 04). Just three days later, his UEFA Champions League debut followed when he came on as a substitute against Paris St. Germain. Brandt’s incredible career trajectory showed no signs of slowing down. As the 2014/15 season went on, the technically gifted and nimble-footed youngster was able to pin down a regular place in the Leverkusen starting line-up. On 29 May 2016, just a few 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 national team, where he helped his side to a silver medal finish.
Julian Brandt understands the journey as part of the destination. He draws strength from the pure joy of playing football for a living. At heart, he is a grounded family man who spends as much time as possible with his parents in Bremen or his brother Jannis in Cologne. He listens to his mum Heike, a former handball player, and to his dad Jürgen, who are always willing to give their now famous son wise advice as he navigates the privileged everyday life of a professional footballer.
''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 basis for everything.''
"Although Julian has been playing in the Bundesliga for quite some time and has a lot of experience both domestically and internationally, he is still, at 23, a very young player with lots of potential for development. He can be deployed in several offensive positions and will enrich our game with his creativity," says BVB sporting director Michael Zorc.