Socceroo Matthew Leckie played a big part in getting German centre-back Sebastian Langkamp to join Perth Glory.
Bundelisga veteran Langkamp signed a two-year deal with the Glory last month and will come out of quarantine and land in the Western Australian capital on Monday.
The 33-year-old has had a sterling career in his homeland, which has included Under-18 and Under-21 caps for Die Mannschaft, and more 180 appearances in the German top flight.
But it was his connection with Leckie, when they were teammates at Hertha Berlin during the 2017-2018 season, that has led to Langkamp’s A-League move.
“Matthew, we’re still in contact, he is a good guy,” he told The World Game.
“I know him from Berlin also. Honestly, it was his agent who called me and made this transfer perfect. He’s celebrating his city Melbourne.
“He doesn’t know Perth [as well] but he told me Perth Glory is a good club and capable to be successful in the league, and that in the last few years they have been successful. He told me I would enjoy life in Australia.”
Despite playing his entire professional career in Europe, Langkamp was well aware of the A-League through television coverage and the exploits of his friend, Sydney FC midfielder Alexander Baumjohann.
“I played with Alex in Berlin for two or three years, I had a chat with him before I signed,” he said.
“There were a few German players here in the past, at Western Sydney. There’s also like a TV channel in Germany where you can watch sometimes some games of the A-League.
“I watched some games in the past and this was fine to see what kind of soccer they play. I was kind of surprised by how athletic soccer is here in Australia.”
Langkamp spent the past two seasons at Werder Bremen after leaving Hertha Berlin in 2018. The defender suffered muscle, back and knee problems last season, playing just seven first-team games for Die Werderaner.
He admits he considered retiring in July when his contract with Bremen expired, and with the global uncertainty caused by Covid-19, but was excited about the challenge down under and the move with his young family.
“I thought about it, because of the situation with the pandemic,” Langkamp said.
“Every club has to look at what squad they want and I’m 33, so in Germany, you have to be really competitive that you want to get a new contract. As I recognized there weren’t any options in the Bundesliga anymore so I had to decide what to do, and it’s been a while since I played in my last match – in July last year.
“I thought about it and I was really waiting for the best option. I had some offers in Europe, in Switzerland and Austria, but it wasn’t really like this challenge I want to have. I really had to be patient, this was the biggest effort I had.
“But I’m really glad and really happy to get this opportunity now in Perth. The challenge, after such a long time in the Bundesliga I had to ask myself what I wanted to do in the last period of my career.
“I had to ask my wife once and she said let’s do it because it’s a great opportunity to come to Australia, to have a new experience there and a new challenge in a new league in a new country with new people, with a different mentality I think. I can imagine it’s a different mentality between Europeans and Australia, also the weather, the community here is more easy-going than in Europe.”
Langkamp came through Bayern Munich’s famed academy along with stars such as Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Toni Kroos. He debuted in the Bundelsiga in 2009 and had spells with Karlsruher SC and FC Augsburg as well as Hertha and Bremen.
The central defender enjoyed his time in Germany but is ready for a new journey in the A-League, and hopes to add some experience into Glory’s backline.
“I’m really happy that I’ve had this career because the Bundesliga is pretty tough,” he said.
“You have a lot of good players there, and honestly I’m more happy than proud of what I’ve done in the past. The expectation will be big here in Australia, sure, and I have to get used to the climate conditions.
“This will be the biggest effort I have to deal with, but I’m working on it. I would love to put my experience into the team. The schedule will be really tough, every three days will be a game because of the Corona situation.
“The team has played very well in the last few games. But the way they’ve played, the tactics they’ve used, I like the way how they play the game. So I’m really looking forward to being part of the team.”