Thomas Brdarić

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Thomas Brdarić
Personal information
Full name Thomas Brdarić
Date of birth (1975-01-23) 23 January 1975 (age 39)
Place of birth Nürtingen, West Germany
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 1 12 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
VfL Wolfsburg II (Manager)
Youth career
VfB Neuffen
FV Nürtingen
Stuttgarter Kickers
VfL Kirchheim/Teck
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1993 VfL Kirchheim/Teck 12 (4)
1993–1994 VfB Stuttgart (A) 26 (9)
1993–1994 VfB Stuttgart 10 (1)
1994–1996 Fortuna Düsseldorf 30 (1)
1996–1999 Fortuna Köln 80 (24)
1999–2004 Bayer Leverkusen 82 (14)
2003–2004 Hannover 96 (loan) 28 (12)
2004–2005 VfL Wolfsburg 32 (12)
2005–2008 Hannover 96 42 (15)
Total 342 (102)
National team
1993–1998 Germany U-21 12 (3)
2002–2004 Germany 8 (1)
Teams managed
2009 1. FC Union Solingen
2013–2014 TSG Neustrelitz
2014– VfL Wolfsburg II
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Thomas Brdarić (born 23 January 1975 in Nürtingen, Baden-Württemberg) is a former German footballer of Croatian descent, who is now manager of VfL Wolfsburg II.

Career[edit]

He began his professional career with VfB Stuttgart, making his Bundesliga debut as a substitute for Fritz Walter on 29 August 1993 against Bayern Munich. In only his second game, against SG Wattenscheid 09, he scored his first goal in a 4–2 victory. He managed ten games in total in his debut season, but did not manage to keep his place in the squad as he was sold onto Fortuna Düsseldorf in the 2. Bundesliga.

He spent two seasons at the Rheinland club, helping them gain promotion to the top flight and maintaining their position. However, he managed just a solitary goal in his time and was again let go, back to the 2. Bundesliga with rivals Fortuna Köln. His spell here was much more successful as he became a first-team regular and found his finishing touch, particularly in 1998–99 when he managed 13 goals in 29 appearances.

This form caught the eye of Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen and they snapped him up in summer 1999. Although he never scored regularly in his time there, he mostly managed to hold down a first team place and enjoyed playing on the biggest stage of his career. During his time with the club, he twice finished second in the league and appeared in the 2002 DFB Cup final, and most prestigiously, the UEFA Champions League final that year, where they were defeated by Real Madrid after their shock run in the tournament. Brdarić played 18 games in the UEFA Champions League in total, scoring once (in a 3–1 win over Juventus in the 2002 campaign).

Brdarić's time with Leverkusen though began to wilt soon into the 2002–03 season, which even saw him playing for their amateurs in the Regionalliga North. The following season he was loaned out to fellow Bundesliga team Hannover 96 and managed 12 goals, his best tally yet at the top level.[1]

This attracted VfL Wolfsburg in July 2004, signing for him €1 million in a three-year deal. Although he matched the previous season's tally of 12, this was a much more frustrating season as he found himself often substituted or starting on the bench. These annoyances caused him to fall out with team-mates and club officials. Team manager Thomas Strunz labelled Brdarić an "egotist" for putting his own issues before the team.[2]

After this turbulent year, he was quickly sold onto Hannover 96, rejoining the team he had been loaned to on a permanent 3 year deal. However, controversy had not fully escaped him as he irked coach Peter Neururer with an interview in which he stated: "As a striker, you have some sort of lust for scoring. That's why a 4–4 with four goals scored by yourself is more important than a win for the team".[3] This led to Brdarić being dropped and subsequently given limited playing opportunities.

This awkward situation was solved though by Neururer's sacking in August 2006, which he welcomed by unleashing criticism at his former coach, branding him "mean and dishonest" in their relationship and claiming he lacked the substance behind his front to aid the club.[4] His time at the club then was much less fractious under Dieter Hecking and he managed five goals in just 11 appearances in the 2006–07 season, where he was blighted by knee problems.[5] His injured knee forced him eventually to end his career as player.

International[edit]

Brdarić has also represented his country, making his debut on 27 March 2002 against the USA in Rostock. He featured in the 2004 UEFA European Championship, making a substitute appearance against Latvia in the group stage. He was also an unused squad member in the 2005 Confederations Cup. His only international goal came in a friendly win in Iran on 9 October 2004.

Trivia[edit]

  • In 2003, he recorded a CD entitled "The Wild 13".[3] The song (co-written by Coastland Records' Marco Heggen) mocks goalkeepers Oliver Kahn, Jens Lehmann and Frank Rost. The title stems from Brdarić's shirt number.
  • During his time at Fortuna Köln, he was nicknamed 'Bambi' because of his very skinny legs.
  • He is married to wife Antje and has two sons, Tim and Lance.

Coaching career[edit]

On 24 March 2009, Brdarić was named as the new director of sport and later also as manager for 1. FC Union Solingen.[6] He was fired on 17 August 2009. He was appointed manager of TSG Neustrelitz in 2013, and led the team to the 2013–14 Regionalliga Nordost title before losing in a promotion playoff against FSV Mainz 05 II. He then took over as manager of VfL Wolfsburg II.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Brdaric, Thomas" (in German). kicker.de. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Strunz: Brdaric ist ein Egoist" (in German). bild.de. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Der Traum vom Comeback im Nationalteam". Der Spiegel (in German). 22 March 2008. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "Brdaric – Neururer „link und unehrlich“" (in German). focus.de. 20 September 2006. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Brdaric heute unters Messer" (in German). bundesliga.de. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Thomas Brdaric wird Sportlicher Leiter bei Union Solingen" (in German). sportal.de. 24 March 2009. Retrieved 29 January 2011. 

External links[edit]