Spotlight: Patrick Kohlmann
You won’t find too many Irish underage international players on the continent, but if you look down the divisions in Germany, the name Patrick Kohlmann stands out.
Born in Dortmund in 1983, the son of a German father and Irish mother, Kohlmann began his playing career at BV Westfalia Wickede before moving to TSC Eintracht Dortmund. His displays for the Eintracht youth side gained him the attention of local giants Borussia Dortmund, and he signed a pre-contract with their underage team.
Patrick stayed with his boyhood club for over a decade, and the defender was a regular for Borussia Dortmund’s second side in the Regionalliga Nord, the German fourth tier. The 2004-05 season was his best with the club’s second string, scoring one goal in 22 games. This earned him a call-up to the full squad, and he played his first (and only) Bundesliga game for Borussia Dortmund against FC Kaiserslautern in November 2004. Unfirtunately, Kohlmann had to be brought off after suffering a knee injury in the game.
Kohlmann stayed with Borussia Dortmund for two more years, being ever present at the back for the Borussia Dortmund II side. Then in 2007 he left his home team, and joined FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt, helping them to promotion from the Regionalliga into the newly established 3rd Liga. In that season he was one of Erfurt’s standout performers, playing 25 games and scoring one goal. This attracted the attention of Union Berlin, where he has been ever since.
In his first season with Union Berlin, Kohlmann helped them to promotion, winning the 3rd Liga title, and moving up to the 2 Bundesliga (the German second tier). Berlin finished 12th last season, but are currently lying just above the relegation zone after 9 games of the 2010-11 League Season. Kohlmann has started every game this season, wearing number 7, and playing as a full-back. He even scored against Osnabruck in September, and has now amassed over 100 career league appearances (65 of them for Union Berlin).
Kohlmann’s international experience came while he was at Borussia Dortmund, where he was noticed by Brian Kerr. The then Ireland youth boss invited the young German to an under-16 training camp in Rotterdam. “I think Brian Kerr knew I played for Borussia, he didn’t know me, but decided to invite me along,” he told the Meath Chronicle earlier this year. He then went on to make his under-21 debut for the Republic of Ireland on August 19, 2003 against Poland. He went on to win five caps for the Ireland under-21s, and was also capped at under 16 and under 20 level.
“It would be a big dream for me. To play for Ireland is still the dream,” Kohlmann admits. “If I was told to come over and join the team of course I would, I always look out for the results because my eyes are always on the Irish national team.”
Check out his goal against Osnabruck (0:13 in) earlier this season, it’s a cracker: