Not only are Australian audiences excited by the progress of Qantas Socceroo Robbie Kruse – in Germany, the Bundesliga knows all about Düsseldorf’s känguru
Not only are Australian audiences excited by the progress of Qantas Socceroo Robbie Kruse - in Germany, the Bundesliga knows all about Düsseldorf-s känguru.
Kruse-s four goals in 22 Bundesliga appearances this season tell a story of their own, but beyond the statistics, the 24-year-old-s performances have seen some pundits compare him with the Bundesliga-s finest.
“In the future, he will leave for a bigger club, everybody in Düsseldorf knows that,” said journalist Bernd Jolitz, who writes for Düsseldorf newspaper the Rheinische Post.
“But, we would like to see him one more year here, and I think also it would be good for him, because we have seen last year that he needs some time to get used to a new atmosphere.
“In Düsseldorf, everybody loves him, the coach knows his worth for Fortuna and it would be great to see him one more year here, then he can leave - Dortmund, Schalke, whatever he wants.”
Kruse-s success in the Bundesliga - which will be represented by two clubs in the final eight of this season-s UEFA Champions League - hasn-t been overnight.
Upon joining Fortuna from Melbourne Victory in 2009, at which time the club was in Germany-s second tier, Kruse struggled through a campaign that failed to yield a goal from eleven appearances - all bar two from the bench.
However, since the opening day of the new Bundesliga campaign - Fortuna-s first in the top-flight since 1997 - Kruse has been fundamental in keeping his club on track to extend its time in the Bundesliga.
“Robbie has made a very good development in our club,” said Fortuna Düsseldorf Head Coach Norbert Meier.
“The first year was not so easy for him, always national team and flying and coming back and he doesn-t make so many games for us, it-s not so good for his self confidence.
“This year, it-s a completely other point.
“If you see him on the pitch, he-s laughing, he-s making jokes and he feels good in this club.”
Kruse was first introduced to Australian audiences, like many of his Qantas Socceroo contemporaries, in the Hyundai A-League.
The Brisbane product debuted for his hometown club on the day of his nineteenth birthday, alongside childhood friend and fellow debutante Michael Zullo.
And, what a debut it was.
Kruse netted the match opening goal after four minutes, before Zullo added a goal of his own in a 2-1 win for Brisbane Roar over the Wellington Phoenix.
Current Sydney FC boss Frank Farina, then at the helm of the Roar, was responsible for handing Kruse his first professional start and remembers his contribution well.
“He played exceptionally well, as did a lot of the players that came in, but for his debut, not only to score but to play well, it was a memorable debut,” said Farina.
“He had his hiccups along the way, as most young kids do, but he did very well.”
Now, some six years after beginning his professional career, Kruse has become one of Australia-s most celebrated talents - contributing 21 caps for the Qantas Socceroos since his debut in 2011, highlighted by two goals.
“I feel I did a long period where I was adjusting to the squad,” said Kruse.
“Obviously I have massive thanks to Holger (Osieck) because he-s given a lot of faith in me, particularly even last season when I wasn-t playing here, he continually chose me and believed in me and now it-s starting to reap benefits.
“Hopefully I can keep playing and doing my part to help the team and the country to make it to the next FIFA World Cup.”