Julian Brandt has been a Borussia Dortmund player since the summer of 2019. The versatile 24-year-old immediately established himself as a first-team regular, featuring in 33 of the 34 Bundesliga fixtures and playing in five different roles: as a lone striker, an attacking midfielder, a left winger, a right winger and the more offensive half of a holding midfield duo.
He racked up nine scorer points in his last 18 appearances last season, scoring two goals and claiming seven assists. In total, he notched seven goals and 13 direct assists across all competitions. Top numbers!
The July 2020 edition of kicker magazine dedicated its front page to him. "Not all that many footballers are blessed with as much talent as Julian Brandt. Dortmund's dribbler wows the spectators," wrote the magazine, before describing what later went on to be 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 what I felt like doing. I never wanted to play for just one club," says Julian Brandt. The talented midfielder draws strength from the pure joy his profession brings him and sees himself as a team player. "You have to adapt to the notion that you won't necessarily play all the time."
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 five years of age. From 2009 to 2011, the attacker 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, who handed him his Bundesliga debut only a few weeks later at just 17 years of age (15 February 2014 against Schalke 04). His UEFA Champions League debut followed when he came on as a substitute against Paris St. Germain three days later. Brandt’s incredible career trajectory 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, 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 sees the journey as the destination and draws strength from the pure joy that playing football for a living brings him. 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 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 with 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 heavy stuff look so light and makes 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 had the gift of doing extraordinary things on the pitch." Just as Julian Brandt does today.