'I could have lost my leg' - Ex-Dortmund prospect Koch details horror injury that derailed his career

Julian Koch Mainz 05Bongarts

Former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Koch has revealed that he was hours away from having his leg amputated after a horror knee injury in 2011.

Koch was considered one of Dortmund's top prospects and made his Bundesliga debut for the club in 2010 at the age of 19.

The Germany youth international was sent on loan to second-division MSV Duisburg the following season to gain more first-team experience, but everything changed for Koch in a game against Rot-Weiss Oberhausen in February 2011.

Article continues below

Koch collided with Dimitrios Pappas in the first half, tearing multiple knee ligaments and his meniscus.

The night before his scheduled MRI, Koch's knee began to swell as he experienced extreme pain. As blood was failing to reach his lower leg, his father made a fateful decision to take him to the hospital.

"We got there at half past nine and the ER doctors immediately said that an emergency operation was necessary," Koch recalled in an interview with Goal and SPOX.

"When I woke up from it, the first information I received was that I would have lost my leg if we had arrived for the scheduled [MRI] appointment at 3pm."

Koch was forced to undergo several subsequent operations during an extended and painful stay at the hospital.

"During this time, the leg was open almost every day, it was incredibly painful," Koch said. "I waited like an addict for the pain pump to work again because I couldn't stand it.

"After the first three or four weeks, it felt like I had been in the hospital for half a year."

Koch would end up missing nearly two years of action, but returned to the pitch with Duisburg in November 2012. He would eventually move on to Mainz, where he made four Bundesliga appearances in 2014. 

His manager at the time was Thomas Tuchel, who would eventually go on to coach Dortmund and PSG.

"The best coach of my career was Thomas Tuchel," Koch said. "I had a huge desire to start training with him every day because you knew you were learning something new. It was such a cool conversation that really blew me away."

Koch would go on to represent St. Pauli, Fortuna Dusseldorf and Hungarian side Ferencvaros before retiring last year at age 29. He is now working as an Under-17 coach at VfL Bochum.