Football has always seemed to come easy to Western Sydney Wanderers playmaker Alexander Baumjohann.
Plucked from his German town of Waltrop as a 12-year-old to sign with Bundesliga giants Schalke, the star junior soon went from being a ball boy at the club’s home matches to training with the first-team at 16.
It was a dream come true for the youngster, who was building a reputation as one of the brightest prospects in German football.
So talented was Baumjohann, he was scouted by the legendary Jupp Heynckes and joined heavyweights Bayern Munich in 2009.
“I won the Bundesliga with Bayern. We have a lot of good clubs in Germany but there is a big distance between Bayern and all the other clubs,” Baumjohann told www.a-league.com.au.
“Bayern just won the league seven times in a row…that says everything.
“I also had a lot of other opportunities, a lot of other offers but when you get the chance to play for Bayern Munich, you will take this.”
While things ultimately didn’t work out for Baumjohann in Bavaria, he doesn’t regret the experience.
He moved back to Schalke the following season and was a part of the club’s surge to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 2010/11.
After further stints at the likes of FC Kaiserslautern and Hertha Berlin, Baumjohann then moved to Brazil where he played for Coritiba and Vitoria over two seasons.
But with limited chances in Brazil, he soon looked for a new challenge and knew of the Hyundai A-League and Western Sydney Wanderers.
“After Thomas Broich played for Brisbane they showed some [Hyundai A-League] games [in Germany],” the 31-year-old explains.
“Western Sydney Wanderers is a club [that] after the [Asian] Champions League win, is a club that everybody knows.
“I knew the club before because I watch a lot of football and I know almost everything about football.”
While it’s been an inconsistent start to the campaign for the Wanderers, Baumjohann’s form has been the biggest positive and he’s caught the eye almost every week.
But it’s the upcoming round where he hopes to produce his best, with the Wanderers set to take on Sydney FC for the second Sydney Derby of the 2018/19 Season.
“The derbies are always the best game. I played a lot of derbies like Schalke-Dortmund and these are the best games,” he said.
“If some players are not excited for these games then they are in the wrong job.
“You can see in the training that everybody wants to play soon and we can’t wait to start this game.”