Robbie Thomas Kruse (born 5 October 1988) is an Australian football (soccer) player who plays as a forward for Liaoning Whowin F.C. and the Australian national team. He played his junior football with Albany Creek in the Pine Rivers district to the near north of Brisbane and began his professional career with A-League side Brisbane Roar and later Melbourne Victory before moving to Germany in 2011.
Recruited in 2006 by Miron Bleiberg, Kruse was injured during an otherwise successful Hyundai A-League preseason during training. He scored on his debut against Wellington Phoenix !Wellington Phoenix on 5 October 2007, his nineteenth birthday, with what was to be the winning goal for that game.
On 19 October 2007, Kruse struck against the Newcastle Jets for his second goal of his A-League career. On 16 November, he got his third with an excellent curling effort to the far post as Brisbane beat Melbourne 1–0.
Kruse and his close friend Michael Zullo formed a good partnership with each playing either side of a striker in a three-man attack for Brisbane which coincided with a seven match unbeaten streak.
Kruse's place in Roar's starting line-up was in jeopardy at the beginning of the 2008 A-league season after he was involved in an altercation outside a Queensland nightspot. The fight resulted in Kruse needing stitches and the then-19-year-old incurring the wrath of club coach Frank Farina, who offered Kruse only a short term contract as a replacement for the injured Massimo Murdoca for the 2009–10 season.
Kruse was linked to a move to reigning A-league premiers Melbourne Victory following the departure of Melbourne striker Danny Allsopp to Qatar club Al-Rayyan. On 10 September 2009, it was confirmed that Kruse had left the Roar for Melbourne Victory.
Kruse made his first appearance for the Victory on 13 September 2009 against Wellington Phoenix after replacing Ney Fabiano at the 58th minute. He scored his first goal for the Victory in the 4–0 demolition of Gold Coast United on 28 November 2009.
A highlight of Kruse's professional career was when he scored a first half hat-trick on 16 January 2010 against the Perth Glory. The Victory went on to win 6–2 as the Glory had no answer for Kruse's pace and well timed runs. His fifth goal came against Sydney FC in the major semi final when struck a curling shot which left Sydney FC keeper Clint Bolton no chance as it tore into the top right corner. His sixth goal for Melbourne came against Gold Coast United when he rounded goalkeeper and former teammate Glen Moss to slide the ball into the open net.
He was the first player to score a brace in a Melbourne derby, helping Victory to a 3–1 win over their rivals Melbourne Heart in December 2010.
At Victory, Kruse was known for turning his career around through his development and change of attitude, no longer getting caught up in off-field incidents like he did whilst in Brisbane, and taking his footballing potential much more seriously.
Following his form for the Victory, Kruse signed with German side Fortuna Düsseldorf on a three-year contract beginning with the 2011–12 season. He made his competitive debut for the club on 24 July 2011 in a league match against SC Paderborn 07, making a substitute appearance in the second half. Kruse started in Fortuna's return to the Bundesliga in the 2012–13 season. Kruse provided a flick on for Schahin leading to the first goal and a neat cross for Schahin's second. Fortuna went on to win the match 2–0 over Augsburg. Kruse scored his first goal in the Bundesliga against Hoffenheim. In the 2–0 win over Hamburger SV, Kruse scored his second goal of the Bundesliga campaign and then provided the assist for Fortuna's second.
Kruse signed a three-year contract with German side Bayer Leverkusen for €1.5 million on 28 April 2013. Kruse made his run-on debut against Mainz 05 in the Bundesliga on 21 September 2013, scoring two goals in a 4–1 victory.
Loan to VfB Stuttgart
On 31 August 2015, Kruse signed with VfB Stuttgart on loan until the end of the season with an option to buy. Kruse made his first appearance for VfB Stuttgart in the awaymatch to Hertha BSC on 11 September 2015, as a replacement for Martin Harnik early in the second half. The loan deal was prematurely terminated on 1 February 2016.
On 28 December 2010, following his impressive level of play in the A-League Kruse was selected in the Australian national team's 23-man squad for the 2011 Asian Cup. On 5 January 2011, he made his Socceroos debut, coming off the bench against UAE in a pre-Asian Cup friendly match. On 25 January 2011, Kruse scored his first international goal, in a 6–0 victory over Uzbekistan in the semi final of the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. In the final of the competition, Kruse made a substitute appearance and almost scored a header with his first touch of the ball. Australia lost the final 1–0 in extra time.
Kruse scored his second international goal in a friendly match against Wales on 10 August 2011, which Australia won 2–1. Kruse scored his third goal against Jordan on 11 June 2013, in a 2014 World Cup qualifier in which Australia won 4–0, and in which Kruse was also Man of the Match, with two more assists on top of his goal. He missed out on a spot in the team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with an injury.
Kruse was named as part of Australia's 2015 AFC Asian Cup squad. He made his first appearance of the tournament as a starter in Australia's first group game against Kuwait. Kruse started Australia's second group game against Oman, scoring Australia's second goal of the game off a Massimo Luongo assist, in an eventual 4–0 win, with Kruse being named man of the match in the same match.
Kruse started in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup Final. However, in the middle of the second half, Kruse suffered an Achilles injury and was substituted off for James Troisi. Australia went on to win the match 2–1 with the match-winning goal coming through Troisi. Scans revealed that although Kruse's injury was not as serious as initially feared, he still spent 4 months on the sidelines.
|1||25 January 2011||Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar||Uzbekistan||6–0||6–0||2011 AFC Asian Cup|
|2||10 August 2011||Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Wales||Wales||2–0||2–1||Friendly|
|3||11 June 2013||Docklands Stadium, Melbourne, Australia||Jordan||3–0||4–0||2014 FIFA World Cup Qualification|
|4||13 January 2015||Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia||Oman||2–0||4–0||2015 AFC Asian Cup|
|VfB Stuttgart (loan)||2015–16||3||0||1||0||0||0||4||0|
1 – includes A-League final series statistics
2 – includes FIFA Club World Cup statistics; AFC Champions League statistics are included in season commencing after group stages (i.e. ACL and A-League seasons etc.)
- AFC Asian Cup: 2015
- Melbourne Victory Young Player of the Year: 2009–10, 2010-11
- A-League PFA Team of the Season: 2010–11
- Harry Kewell Medal: 2012–13
- PFA Footballer of the Year: 2012–13