The prospect of Julian Brandt (l.) taking his game to the next level at Borussia Dortmund is a frightening one for defenders everywhere. - © 2019 DFL
The prospect of Julian Brandt (l.) taking his game to the next level at Borussia Dortmund is a frightening one for defenders everywhere. - © 2019 DFL
bundesliga

Julian Brandt: "I want to take the next step at Borussia Dortmund"

A full Germany international with over 160 Bundesliga appearances to his name and still just 23? Let's be honest, most of us would be tempted to ease off and enjoy the view from the top – but not Julian Brandt, who says a drive for excellence was behind his summer transfer to Borussia Dortmund.

Brandt burst onto the scene in the second half of the 2013/14 season at former club Bayer Leverkusen, the then 17-year-old making 12 appearances – including six starts – scoring two and providing five assists to help Die Werkself seal UEFA Champions League qualification.

An outrageously gifted creative midfielder, his star continued to rise over the next five seasons as he became an essential cog in Leverkusen's attack-minded machine.

Watch: Brandt's Bundesliga Mixtape

Ahead of the 2019/20 campaign, the Bremen native had first-team football guaranteed, was a hero among the Leverkusen fans and with Peter Bosz's side competing in the Champions League again this term, there appeared to be little reason to leave.

Yet for Brandt, the time had come to move on.

"My father [and agent] told me who was interested in signing me and how firm that interest was, but [Dortmund head coach and sporting director] Lucien Favre and Michael Zorc were the only people I met properly," he told bundesliga.com in an exclusive interview.

"I had the feeling straight away that it would be a good fit. Sometimes you just get a feeling, without knowing why. I just believe that it's important for me to take this step, with a certain level of expectation and with the aims we've set ourselves.

Watch: All of Brandt's goals and assists in 2018/19

"I'm excited by this project. I was in Leverkusen for five and a half years and now I want to take the next step in Dortmund. I feel at home here."

So what might that next step be for a player who is already regarded as one of the most talented and unpredictable midfielders in the world?

For Brandt, who scored on his competitive debut for BVB to round out a 5-1 opening day win over Augsburg, that means winning silverware.

"The greatest sporting moments are normally when you when titles," he explained. "That didn't happen much in Leverkusen. But winning the 2017 Confederations Cup [with Germany], the U-19 European Championship [in 2014] and the silver medal at the Olympics in Rio was huge."

Winning the 2017 Confederations Cup with Germany whetted Brandt's (l.) appetite for more silverware. - imago/Ulmer

The objective now is to help fire Dortmund to success: "At the end of the day we want to win things, no question […] That's the aim. Not just the Bundesliga, but the DFB Cup and the Champions League. Those are the kind of heights we have to be reaching for."

With that in mind, Brandt's experiences with Germany have helped him settle quickly at the Signal Iduna Park, easing the transition from Leverkusen and the absence of close friend and former teammate Kai Havertz.

"Kai's like a little brother to me. We're still in regular contact with each other, even though we no longer live in the same city. It's a special relationship with him, but I know a lot of the guys [at Dortmund] already – I've known Julian Weigl and Mo Dahoud since youth level – and I also get on really well with Marco [Reus]. I get on well with a lot of the boys."

That chemistry has served Dortmund well so far – the Matchday 3 defeat at Union Berlin notwithstanding – and if Brandt has anything to do with it, will help BVB past Havertz and his former Leverkusen colleagues when the sides meet on Matchday 4.