The resurrection of Andre Gumprecht


Born on November 26, 1974 in Jena, East Germany, the concrete surroundings of Jena would provide Gumprecht with the earliest but most crucial aspect of his football development.
The diminutive midfielder boasts a career which has seen him scale the heights of German football, having been a junior and senior player at Bayer Leverkusen and SG Wattenscheid 09 in Germany?s second tier. Gumprecht won an NSL Championship with Perth Glory in the 2002/2003 season and then lost in the grand final playing for the Parramatta Power in the following season.
After a brief but impressive stint with Sydney Olympic in the NSW Premier League in the 2004/2005, Gumprecht would go on to play in two A-League grand finals with the Central Coast Mariners.
Despite having been in Australia for only a few years, Andre Gumprecht has managed to establish himself as a favorite amongst fans and players. His hard-running, outstanding work-rate and general qualities as a human being off the pitch have endeared him to all of the game?s personnel and in his first season with Central Coast was named the ?Members Player of the Year?.
Despite the positives of his impact on Australian football, an off-the pitch incident earlier this year resulted in Gumprecht being ostracized and targeted by domestic and international media. Andre and many within the football realm believe his relegation to the Mariners bench towards the end of last season was the result of off-field factors rather than anything to do with his on-pitch conduct.
Despite the troubles of the past few months, which Andre describes as being some of the toughest of his career, the veteran is now looking to restore his reputation and role as a footballer and prove that he still has a contribution to make at the highest level of Australian football.
Having recently signed with the Bansktown City Lions, Gumprecht?s enigmatic debut performance against Manly in round 12 and a similarly impressive display this weekend against APIA, have helped earn his new team two crucial victories and put the Lions back into finals contention.
Football NSW caught up with Andre and found a man of resilience, determination and with a point to prove.
?I?m obviously feeling pretty good at the moment which is the advantage of coming out of a strong competition like the A- League.
“From the little stint I had with Sydney Olympic I knew how physically demanding and how rough the TeleChoice Premier League could be.
“But I think I can say the league has stepped up a lot compared to the days when I played, purely because the players who played in the old NSL and couldn?t score a contract with the A-League club have increased the standard.
I?m impressed by my own teammates, when I trained with them I couldn?t believe the quality and precision we had on the table. So we tried to figure out what was missing and the past result shows we may be heading in the right direction but we have to keep on winning, its very important for us.
What is also very important is going step by step, not getting disorientated by the big picture. We are in a very unfortunate position chasing other teams, we have to look after ourselves and keep putting in performances like the last two weeks.”
Playing in the Telechoice Premier League shows A-League clubs that Andre is as fit, strong and has as much quality as ever. I?m not sitting back and doing nothing, waiting for interested clubs. I?m proactive, a proactive thinker; I can?t stand sitting at home. The closest to the A-League is being in the Telechoice Premier League and everyone can now see how fit I am.
Being on the bench for the A-League Grand Final against the Central Coast Mariners for what I believe were more political reasons than football, was probably the lowest point of my career.
Coming forward and saying I want to win trophies is a little silly though. I?m here to stay fit and while I?m here, I want to help every individual player and pass on my experience.
But Bankstown gave me the opportunity and I?m very grateful for that. I know the people here at Bankstown like Peter Tsekenis will take good care of me.?
The most tragic aspect of Gumprecht?s career has perhaps been that Australia only caught the end of his football life. Clearly, here is a man who had and still has so much to offer to Australian football.
The Telechoice Premier League and the Bankstown City Lions now offer the stage for the return of the 33-year old to the football showpiece. His contract with the Lions ends at the end of the season.
Catch him while the show lasts.
By Chris Paraskevas