Few Norwich fans would have known the name “Tom Trybull” when he made his way through the Carrow Road doors in summer 2017.
However, Trybull would soon show City fans what he had to offer as he set about making the most of the next chapter in his career resurgence. Indeed, like many of his counterparts in Canary colours, Trybull is another who had a lightning start to his career only to encounter adversity, to be written off, judged unfairly and pushed out into the cold, before fighting his way back.
What’s the story, exactly? Well, it all begins in Berlin…
The Berliner making a big impression
Born in Berlin, Tom Trybull featured in the youth set-ups of FC Berlin and SV Lichtenberg 47, before joining Union Berlin.
Trybull already had some illustrious admirers and would impress during the Opel Mundt Cup – an indoor football tournament – as a 12-year-old, where he’d be named in the All-Star Team. His coach at Union, Bernd Martins, said it was of little surprise that Bundesliga sides were keeping a watchful eye on the starlet – who’d had a trial at Bayern Munich and also alerted the attention of the likes of Hertha Berlin, Werder Bremen and Energie Cottbus. But Trybull would continue his development with Die Eisernen, for now, and win the Goldener Ritter award for best player in 2008 as a 14-year-old, having already become a regular for Union’s U-17 side.
Now, after six-years at Union Berlin, Trybull was about to take the next step on his whirlwind journey in the shape of Hansa Rostock.
While now of the 3. Liga, in 2008, Hansa Rostock were plying their trade in the Bundesliga, fighting what would ultimately prove an unsuccessful battle against relegation. BILD declared that they had snagged Union Berlin’s “super talent”, detailing the C-teenager (U-15) already playing in the B-Junioren Regionalliga (U-17) and a member of Germany’s U-15 squad.
A 15-year-old Trybull would get his feet under the table at Rostock as a regular for their U-17 side in the B-Junioren Bundesliga Nord/Nordost, playing 25 times and scoring twice in the process.
Rising through the ranks
With his first season in the bag, Trybull had a platform to build from in 2009/10 and would duly continue his rise, playing for both the U-17 and U-19 sides.
Beginning the season with the U-17s, Trybull commenced training with the U-19 team during the winter break. Michael Hartmann, coach of the U-19s, explained the goal was to get Trybull used to playing at a higher level while remaining an important part of the U-17 team.
As it so happens, Trybull would become an important part of the U-19 side instead.
The youngster became a regular for Hartmann’s side in 2010, playing just twice for the U-17s. Trybull helped the U-19 team win the A-Junioren Bundesliga Nord/Nordost before then winning the German U-19 Championship when defeating Western regional champions, Bayer Leverkusen, in the final. The success of the youngsters was in stark contrast to the fortunes of the first-team, who had just been relegated to 3. Liga but that in itself laid the foundations for Trybull to continue his rapid rise.
Due to an injury crisis, he was drafted into the first-team set-up the following season, as Hansa targeted an immediate return to 2. Bundesliga, for the trip to Dynamo Dresden on 23 October 2010.
Here, Trybull made his professional debut – albeit just a two-minute cameo – aged just 17. He would start for the side a few weeks later against SV Sandhausen in a 2-1 win for his promotion-chasing side.
Continuing to clear hurdle after hurdle, Trybull would soon make a big decision for his future.
Grabbing a chance
Trybull decided to quit school in the eleventh grade to focus solely on football. He explained that while the decision hadn’t been an easy one to take, he had a big chance, a chance that he had to grab, and he was looking forward to seeing what the future held for him.
He had the backing of his parents. He had the backing of his coach, Peter Vollmann, who tipped the youngest player in his squad to make it to the very top as a Bundesliga player – something Trybull would do in the very near future.
Trybull would help Hansa Rostock to promotion back to 2. Bundesliga, becoming a regular in the new year, featuring a total of 18 times, playing just twice for the U-19 team, while also becoming a U-18 international. Come the summer, he was on the move again as Werder Bremen of the Bundesliga came calling. Timo Perthel would join Rostock, while Trybull headed for Bremen.
Trybull explained that he was lured in by Bremen’s development of younger players. He would quickly prove his faith was well-placed, becoming a success story himself the following season.
Good enough for Barcelona
Trybull started life at Werder Bremen with the reserve side in 3. Liga, featuring in a raft positions but as he’d done throughout his career so far, he’d waste little time and find himself in the first-team set-up come 2012.
In fact, he would become a regular during the second half of the Bundesliga season, playing 15 times. His debut came away at FC Kaiserslautern on 21 January, where he would play the full 90 minutes, before following that with his first ever goal in a 3-1 win away at Hamburg in what was just his fourth appearance.
The Weser Kurier declared that Trybull had passed the baptism of fire and hailed him as looking like a seasoned professional already. Trybull was modest, admitting that it would take more than four games for him to be a seasoned Bundesliga player and that once he had a full season under his belt, then there would be more to talk about.
But come a month later, there was already more to talk about.
Trybull had continued to impress, so much so that Werder Bremen’s General Manager – and legendary German striker – Klaus Allofs would suggest that he would not look out of place in the midfield of Barcelona. But such praise, while flattering, would also send expectations soaring just as Trybull’s rapid rise was set to morph into a rocky road.
Out in the cold
Hopes were high entering the 2012/13 season that Trybull would be able to establish himself as a regular.
Injuries would have other ideas, leaving the young midfielder to just four Bundesliga outings that season – though he would play with a certain Onel Hernandez for Werder Bremen II during this time. Another injury would ensure Trybull would have a slow start to the 2013/14 season, but once more he would fight his way back only to be rewarded with a meagre six minutes of first-team football under the new coach, Robin Dutt.
Trybull was out of contract at the end of the season and while offered an extension along with a loan move to get back playing, Trybull opted to cut ties completely as he joined St. Pauli in the 2. Bundesliga in January.
Trybull acknowledged he’d had a rough time with illness and injuries but pointed out that he’d fought back each time, grabbed his chance and made the most of it. Yet this time, despite promises, Dutt had not given him an opportunity to prove himself. In the shape of St. Pauli, he had a “cool club with ambitions” where he could begin to build himself back up.
Dropping into the 2. Bundesliga wasn’t a regression, it was right for his development.
He would, indeed, get back playing, featuring 12 times for St. Pauli but more adversity was waiting just around the corner.
Own goal of the year
The 2014/15 season saw just 3 first-team appearances for Trybull in the colours of St. Pauli. He’d be left to play for St. Pauli II in the Regionalliga Nord instead. Trybull would later reveal that Thomas Meggle, who had come in as St. Pauli coach, had simply cast him aside, not viewing his style of play as right for what he wanted.
So come 2015/16, the super talent – barely into his 20s – had seen his star fade. In some quarters, he’d been written off. Still, it came with a new club and a new chance as he joined SpVgg Greuther Fürth. Trybull acknowledged that while last season had not gone as planned, he was looking forward to his new beginning. But this new beginning was simply more of the same and arguably Trybull’s most difficult season yet.
He would not play a single second for Greuther Fürth’s first-team.
Instead, he would score what was referred to as “own goal of the year” for Greuther Fürth’s reserve side. He’d play for them a grand total of 18 times.
There was talk in January that Hansa Rostock would offer Trybull an escape on loan. The frustrated midfielder had even joined up with his former club’s winter training camp, where he would reflect on a difficult six months at Fürth, explaining that Stefan Ruthenbeck had promised him a chance that never came. But regardless of what had come before, who’d done this and who’d said what, Trybull just wanted to get playing again.
It appeared everything was set for him to find his feet and build himself back up somewhere familiar, yet that move would fall apart at the final hour, leaving Trybull to see out what he would later call a “shit year” at Fürth.
The comeback kid
Trybull, still just 23, would join his fifth club as a professional that summer, leaving Germany for pastures new, earning a contract with ADO Den Haag in the Netherlands having made an excellent impression on trial.
And finally, after a frustrating few years, Trybull got back to doing what he does best.
He became a regular in the Eredivisie, playing 23 times, showing just what a good player he was. As early as October, there was already talk of Trybull leaving. He was reportedly on the radars of West Brom, Sampdoria and clubs in Spain, all interested in making a January move for the midfielder who only had signed a one-year contract in the Netherlands.
Trybull would downplay a move in an interview with Goal.com ahead of that January window, stating that he had to prove he could play at a top level again for a whole season. Plus, the Netherlands was a place where the style of football suited him down to the ground and was proving a great place to bounce back after a difficult year.
He would deal with everything else when the time came.
Proving people wrong
The interview also handed Trybull a chance to reflect on his career to date.
Particularly at Greuther Fürth, though also St. Pauli, Trybull said that he’d had to contend with people saying “He did not make it there because…” and judging him, despite having little idea about him – though he was learning to deal with it.
He also admitted he knew the Klaus Allofs’ Barcelona praise would be used against him if he had a bad game. It was something that had ramped up expectations and could be used to say he’s disappointed and that he’d failed. Though Trybull didn’t feel that it had hampered his career. Quite the opposite. He pointed out he was a regular for a first division club in the Netherlands.
Having said that, he admitted that he still had dreams. Trybull noted the bad luck he’d had with injuries and wrong decisions but declared his intentions to return to Germany one day and show just how misjudged he’d been.
A coach that believes in him
With the end of the season in sight, Trybull decided to leave the Netherlands in a bid to take the “next step” for himself.
While it saw him out of the first-team for the final weeks of the season, it gave him ample time to plot the next stop on his journey. Trybull said that he was in talks with clubs from Spain and Italy, both of which were exciting options for him, but he was open to everything.
Enter, Norwich City.
Following a successful trial, Trybull joined the beginnings of Daniel Farke’s Norwich City revolution on a one-year deal. According to Norwich’s Sporting Director, Stuart Webber, Trybull’s new coach had fought hard for the midfielder to come to Carrow Road. “He is lucky he has an outstanding coach who believes in him. Daniel fought for the opportunity for Tom. He came through very much on Daniel’s advice. I like people who are brave and willing to put themselves out of their comfort zone and pretty much beg for an opportunity.”
Trybull rewarded his coach’s faith with a string of fine displays and got himself a new contract in early 2018, signing up until 2021.
Trybull told the EDP that joining Norwich had been “the best decision of my last few years” and after his struggles over the last through seasons, he was relishing the chance to show everyone that “I’m back”.
Thanks to Cory for sharing another of his storming pieces with TalkNorwichCity. Cory’s blog, iwritethings23, can be found here to view more of his excellent work. Who would you like to see next? Comment below!