In the lead up to the 2013-14 season, join us as we count down the best 15 players in the A-League, as voted for by Goal and Sportal.com.au journalists and writers
Thomas Broich was meant to be a superstar of German football. At the age of 19, the attacking midfielder, dubbed 'Mozart' by his team-mates, took small Bavarian club SV Wacker Burghausen from the third tier of German football into the 2. Bundesliga and caught the eye of a number of Germany's biggest clubs. The teenager's potential, which saw him ranked alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski, prompted a filmmaker to select Broich as the feature of his documentary film following the trials and tribulations of a footballer's career.
While Broich went on to play for Borussia Monchengladbach, Cologne and Nuremberg in the Bundesliga, his career never took off as many had expected and in 2010, the playmaker joined Brisbane Roar.
|Brisbane Roar [2010-]
Under Ange Postecoglou, Broich became one of the key players of the team that would become known as 'Roarcelona'. Lining up on the left wing for Brisbane but regularly drifting inside to prompt and probe with his impressive right boot, Broich quickly became one of the A-League's highest-rated players.
If anything, the reason A-League fans and our experts do not rate Broich higher is his lack of statistics affecting the scoreboard. In his 87 appearances for Brisbane, Broich has scored just 13 goals and notched 19 assists, which for a player of his calibre is almost disappointing. A man known to be just as interested in literature and classical music, there are even times when the 32-year-old midfielder seems bored by events on the field and drifts out of games.
Broich is a genuine match-changer, who can create or score a goal from nothing. His ability to retain possession in tight spaces, swerving past opponents or spinning away from a tackle, makes him incredibly difficult to stop. Broich can also produce pin-point delivery from set-pieces, which both Roar and Central Coast Mariners fans will remember all too well from the 2011 A-League Grand Final, when the German picked out Erik Paartalu to force a penalty shootout Brisbane would go on to win.
Brisbane supporters may wish they saw it more often but Broich also packs a thunderous shot and has scored some fantastic goals from long-range in his A-League career.
While many remember Broich's two assists in the 2011 Grand Final, cutting the ball back to Henrique for Brisbane's first goal and then sending a corner onto Paartalu's head for the second, the German also single-handedly dragged the Roar back against the Mariners in the semi-final second leg a fortnight earlier.
Having lost the first leg in Gosford 2-0, Central Coast dominated the first half of the second leg in Brisbane and scored twice before the break to level the tie. The Roar had dominated the 2010-11 season, winning the premiership by eight points, but suddenly looked in trouble on their home turf.
On the hour mark, Broich bobbed up on the right wing, went past Pedj Bojic and then stabbed the ball home at the near post. Broich started the move that saw Brisbane draw 2-2 on the night as well, cutting in from the left in second-half stoppage time and picking out Massimo Murdocca, who teed up Henrique to score.