In Dubai it all started, and it has now come to an end: Here in June 2009, he put on the national jersey for the first time, and now professional football player Christian Träsch has ended his career. In October, our DISD soccer teams had the opportunity to take part in a training session with the ex-national player. Christian Träsch began his professional career in 2008 with VfB Stuttgart. He played 207 Bundesliga games, 33 European Cup matches and ten international games. One of his highlights was winning the DFB Cup with VFL Wolfsburg in 2015. Most recently, he played for Al Wasl Football Club in Dubai. Now 34 years old, he answered questions from our students. Young football talent Milla Frömmel (8b) and CCA- coordinator Karl Habermann conducted the interview.
The entire podcast can be listened to on our Youtube-Channel (in German).
Milla: When did you decide to become a professional soccer player and what did your path to that goal look like?
Christian Träsch: Well, I didn’t really decide. I started playing soccer when I was 4 years old. I was given a ball for my first birthday and just ran after it. As a youngster, I realized that I was having an incredible amount of fun, and when I was at 1860 Münchenmin the junior training center, the path to becoming a professional developed. However, it was not yet foreseeable that I would actually become a professional.
Milla: How did you deal with being separated from your family for a large part of your time at the beginning of your soccer career?
Christian Träsch: It was a difficult time at first. I left home when I was 15. Suddenly I was on my own. Of course, there was the boarding school director and there were a lot of older players. It was a very instructive and also beautiful time. I had to learn to do laundry, I had to take care of myself. I got 125€ at that time, which is relatively hard to get along with in Munich. It was just a lot of things that I learned at an early age. It was also nice to realize that you can do without parents. There were many opportunities to party in Munich, even at a young age. It was a very, very nice time at boarding school.
Milla: You were team captain at VFL Wolfsburg for one season. What did that mean for you and what responsibility did that entail?
Christian Träsch: It was a very big responsibility. You decide a lot for the team, especially off the pitch. You’re supposed to march out in front. For me, that was very difficult. I joined VFL Wolfsburg when I was 23, and at the time it was the highest transfer fee the VFL had ever paid. I only joined the team a week before the season started. It’s relatively difficult to be accepted directly as captain of a team. But we also had a difficult start and were knocked out of the cup against RB Leipzig, who were in the third division at the time. That was very unfortunate. We fell short of expectations throughout the season. We wanted to play internationally and only finished seventh. A lot came down on me. The captain is often portrayed as the culprit when things don’t go well. It’s then said that he can’t lead the team.
Milla: Did you feel comfortable as captain?
Christian Träsch: Not really. I was pushed into the situation a bit. As the most expensive purchase, you have to march in front. I was one of the few national players. And I was pushed into a role that I didn’t necessarily want.
Milla: What did it mean for you to play for the senior national team?
Christian Träsch: It’s a special feeling. I remember very clearly when I was nominated. Jogi Löw told me that we were going on a trip to Asia. I was extremely excited when I sat opposite Jogi Löw. And also when I put on the national jersey for the first time. That was here in Dubai. A real coincidence. It was a special moment to sing the national anthem. It makes you really proud to present your country.
Milla: Looking back, have you regretted any decision in your career?
Christian Träsch: Accepting the captain’s position was perhaps a big mistake on my part. But when you’re new and get offered the position, then of course you’re happy to accept it. It’s hard to say “no.” Especially under Felix Magath, it’s hard to say no (laughs). Maybe that was a mistake. But otherwise I can’t say I regretted anything. However, I wouldn’t do it again either, be 20 again. I think the pressure has increased a bit more because the players are getting younger and younger. At Dortmund, a 16-year-old is a professional. That has become extreme in the meantime.
Milla: Did you have a diet plan and what did it look like?
Christian Träsch: (laughs) Later yes, initially no. When I lived at boarding school, we were on our own. We often had pizza. It’s different now. And when you’re a professional, you usually have a cook. You can go out for breakfast, there’s lunch, and you can also take food home.
Milla: After 2 years in Dubai you are going back to Germany. Are you already looking forward to it?
Christian Träsch: Yes. We’re really looking forward to getting out into nature more with the kids again. And I can get started on my coaching license. Nonetheless, we will definitely miss Dubai a lot…