During David Alaba’s early days at FC Bayern Munich, the threshold between the youth and professional sectors was teeming with Austrians. The story of the little and big brothers.
To say goodbye to FC Bayern, David Alaba left a few tears in an emotional video and received a large mural before the 5-2 win against FC Augsburg on which he can be seen with all of the titles he has won. Two handles, for example, and ten championship trophies, nobody else has won more. At the age of 28, Alaba is one of the most successful players FC Bayern has ever had.
The Austrian came from Austria Wien in 2008 at the age of 16. According to his own information as a “little sucker” and above all with an even broader Viennese dialect than he speaks it today. Alaba had to repeat some sentences for his new teammates, but some of them understood him from the start without any problems. By Christoph Knasmüllner and Christian Derflinger, for example, who moved from Austria to Munich at the same time as Alaba and moved into the club’s own boarding school.
Or by Daniel Sikorski, who had been with FC Bayern since 2005 and played in Hermann Gerland’s reserve team at the time. Sikorski already knew the people and the processes and took care of his young compatriots, just as the 2.02 meter tall future national player Stefan Maierhofer had taken on him when he arrived. The story of the little and big Austrian brothers in Munich begins with Maierhofer.
The two strikers Maierhofer and Sikorski switched to FC Bayern at the same time in 2005, where they played together for the reserve team from then on. One of them was already quite a grown-up 22 years old, the other only just 17. “Right at the beginning, Stefan took care of me,” Sikorski remembers in an interview with SPOX and Goal. “He was like a big brother to me.”
Daniel Sikorski: David Alaba? “We liked it straight away”
Sikorski missed his own breakthrough at Bayern mainly because of his bad luck with injuries. At least he simplified Alaba’s breakthrough by offering him a feeling of security in Munich. “We liked each other straight away and spent a lot of time together privately,” remembers Sikorski. “Just like me, he was very homesick at the beginning and often went home to Austria. Just as Stefan Maierhofer once looked after me, I tried to look after David.”
During one of these home visits, Alaba first met Dominik Burusic. The talented midfielder was still playing in Admira Wacker Mödling’s youth, but should also switch to Bayern the following summer. “Shortly before I moved to Munich, I met David by chance in Vienna,” says Burusic at SPOX and goal. “I didn’t know him personally at the time. But he came straight to me, gave me his number and told me to get in touch as soon as I got to Munich. That made me feel good.”
When Burusic actually arrived in the unfamiliar Munich a few weeks later, he contacted Alaba directly, as agreed, and that was a really excellent idea. “It was very important for me that someone took me by the hand and showed me the city. If I had problems or questions, I could always turn to David,” he recalls. “Just like Daniel was his big brother, David was my big brother.”
Soon Burusic and Alaba were best friends. Inseparable. “In my early days in Munich, David and I spent every free minute together. Everything we did, we did together.” They went to town to eat or to the movies. Two of them practiced free kicks when there was no training session but the desire for football was still too great. They went on vacation to Croatia together and they also met in Vienna when they were visiting their families.
At Säbener Straße 51, Alaba and Burusic lived next door to each other in the boarding school, which increasingly developed into a small Austrian exclave. Of the 14 residents, five came from Austria at times: In addition to Alaba, Burusic, Knasmüllner and Derflinger, there was also Alessandro Schöpf, who now plays for FC Schalke 04 and with Alaba in the national team.