Creative Soccer Culture

Robin Koch On His Future With Leeds, Playing For Germany & Yorkshire Puddings

Having helped Leeds United avoid relegation, German International Robin Koch is determined to continue to help the club push on next season under new manager Jesse Marsch. But first, his focus is on the National setup…

A move from the Bundesliga to the Premier League is quite the challenge for any player, taking into account the differing styles of the leagues along with the culture shift, but Robin Koch was able to take it in his stride following his switch back in 2020. Swapping the beauty of the Black Forest for the heart of Yorkshire, Koch has adapted well to life in England, and while Yorkshire puddings may not be his thing, he’s more than happy with life up north and is focused on the future. With a second season under his belt, we caught up with the utility man to talk about his move to England and playing for Germany.

Tell us where it all started, what early memories cemented a love for football at an early age?

I think, like so many, it started at home, on football pitches with friends. One goal was two trees, the other two water bottles. In the yard at our house, we broke the garage doors. We were just kids who played football after school.

Who were your idols growing up?

If I had to name one, it would be Ronaldinho. Watching him on TV was just great, there was always something magical when he played. We always tried to copy his tricks.

When did your dream of being a professional footballer really feel like a reality? 

In my first international match with Germany, we played against Argentina and I was in the starting line-up straight away. Messi wasn't there, but that was the first time I really realised on the pitch what a dream had just come true; to play for your country against the best in the world.

Your progression through clubs and through academies from the outside seemed like one that offered a lot of experiences – how were they for you?

I played for Trier in the first men's team at a very young age. I think that was very good for my development because I learned the toughness and physicality of men's football early on. That definitely helped me.

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The fans are unique – they are incredibly open and from the beginning they gave me this feeling that I am now a part of Leeds United, a part of them."

Do you ever feel doubt along the way? You’re sitting in a great position as an international player at a Premier League club now. But it probably came with a hell of a lot of challenges…

I have already achieved great goals, Premier League, national team. But of course, as a footballer, there are always problems, injuries, difficult times, like in any profession. But I've always been confident enough to know that I'll get out of it, that it will only make me stronger. You have to keep your focus and stay positive even in difficult times. I always knew that I would get back to my strength.

How would you describe yourself, what you’re about and what you’re into?

I am a very open person. I like to be with my friends. I have known most of them since I was little and have always had them around. Therefore, I prefer to spend time off the pitch with friends and family. In general, I'm also very interested in other things apart from football to be able to switch off and clear my head.

What has surprised you about life in England? Anything stand out particularly?

It was fine for me, but mainly because my start here at Leeds was made very easy by the people in charge at Leeds United and my teammates. Everyone has welcomed me warmly and helped me a lot. I feel completely at home here, both in football and in my personal life. I didn't expect anything bad here either, even the food and the weather don't disappoint me, even if a few more days of sunshine now and then would be good.

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What about life up north in particular – you may not know much different if you’ve not experienced the south but can you feel a bit of a unique personality to the place?

I've been to London a few times, the weather is a bit better there. The higher up north I go, the more difficult it is for me with the English accent.

Had any food that people say is from up here? Pie drenched in Gravy would be the cliché!

I tried fish and chips, of course, which is absolutely fine. But Yorkshire pudding, for example, is not really for me. But there are many very very good restaurants.

What’s the experience been like since you joined, what do you love about the city?

I knew Leeds United of course, also from my dad for example. It's a big club that you just know. I watched the documentary and got an impression that definitely captivated me. Then when you're here, you only realise how overwhelming the club really is, how it fascinates the city and its people. The fans are unique. They are incredibly open and from the beginning they gave me this feeling that I am now a part of Leeds United, a part of them. The whole city stands together.

You moved into the heart of it, is it important for you to be in a busy environment or somewhere where there’s some life? Rather than in the countryside?

I like to just walk around the city, go to a restaurant that's near me. In the countryside it might be a bit too quiet for me. I just like to feel the city.

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Can you take us behind the scenes a little – how would you describe Leeds United as a club, what makes it different to those you’ve experienced in the past?

The club is just so special because it feels like it brings everyone together. The players, the people in the city, the people in charge. It really is like one big family. I think it's really extraordinary that all parties are then so united, even in bad times. The fans are absolutely behind us, always. And we feel that, we need that, that's important for us.

Can you describe the first time you played at Elland Road? Could you feel the intensity of the atmosphere?

Of course, you notice it much more in the stadium. The fans are cheering from all sides. The atmosphere is just incredible at Elland Road. I had to wait a long time for my first game in front of fans because of Corona, but it was definitely worth the wait. That was also after my injury when I came back. It was a great feeling, pure goosebumps.

Off the pitch, where do your ambitions live? What more would you like to do on a personal level?

I always try to develop as a person. It has been very beneficial for me to gain new experiences in a new country, in a country where you don't know anyone yet. It has definitely strengthened me as a person. What is very important to me is to be a role model, especially for the younger generation. I want to help others, I want to support others, through specific actions but also simply in everyday life. Especially with children or young people, I think it's good to be able to help them develop as much as possible.

When so many eyes are on you, it's important to give back and be a role model. Inspire young people. No matter what you have or what you do, you can always help other people in some way.

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The atmosphere is just incredible at Elland Road. I had to wait a long time for my first game in front of fans because of Corona, but it was definitely worth the wait."

Have you found that you’ve got to a point in your life where you’re looking to give back? Can you tell us about what steps you’re taking or would like to take?

For example, I am specifically involved with Leeds Children's Charity, I often like to go there and visit the children and support the organisation. But it's about always being ready to help, family, friends, fans on the street who approach you or targeted organisations.

What about your forward focus on an international level? Achieving success with Germany, what would that mean for you?

Every time the national coach calls and names you to the German squad, it's a great feeling. Every minute you get to represent your country is very special and a great honor for me. It's a huge dream for me to win a title with Germany at a major tournament. I will give everything for that.

What are your career goals?

I'm living in the here and now, feeling super happy at Leeds United. I came here to develop on the pitch and as a person, which I have done. It's just a good fit here. Still, I don't set myself any limits. I want to play soccer as successfully as I can, win titles with club and country. At the end of the day, it's about never stopping, wanting to get better and always wanting to get the maximum out of it. That is my goal.

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Robin Koch wears the adidas Nemeziz, which you can pick up at

Daniel Jones

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