Breno stands trial this week

Injuries and high expectations appear to be important factors in why Bayern Munich's defender Breno is standing trial on arson charges this week.

The 22-year-old faces up to one year in prison if the Munich court finds him guilty of burning down his villa in the Bavarian city on 19 September.

The verdict will also determine his football future as a contract at Italian club Lazio depends on the decision of the German judges.

Breno's contract at Germany's biggest club Munich runs out at the end of the month and one of his last moments at the club was getting a medal as a squad member after it lost the UEFA Champions League final on 19 May.

Breno Vinicius Borges came to Munich at age 18 in January 2008 for a fee of 12 million euros ($15.07 million) from Sao Paulo amid huge expectations.

"I am convinced that he will become a great player and that he will give Bayern a lot of joy," then coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said.

General manager Uli Hoeness also believed Breno would become one of the world's best defenders.

But things went very differently for Breno, who according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) once said that his main childhood joy was football in a family where the father was absent most of the time and fighting a drinking problem while the mother suffered from depression.

The SZ said on Monday that Breno cried a lot as a child but smiled when he played football.

But playing football in Germany was not as easy as it was in Brazil, as cold temperatures and the language barrier in the new country made it difficult for Breno to acclimatise.

Injuries played a role as well, most notably when Breno ruptured the cruciate knee ligament in March 2010 when he was just about to show his huge potential while on loan at Nurnberg.

Breno required several operations and the misery possibly culminated on 19 September, 2011, when Munich club doctors told him that he may require yet another operation.

Hours later, shortly after midnight, the villa was ablaze.

Breno soon became a suspect, spent a few weeks in custody while club officials and his lawyer suggested that he was fighting personal problems, with Hoeness suggesting he was suffering from depression.

Breno himself may have hinted at that when he said in an interview before the fire: "I had less money and less luxury in Brazil but was a happy man. Here I have money but everything else is missing."

Now the trial will determine his fate in what the SZ calls 'a unique case in German football'.