For Arp, the jump from Hamburger SV to Bayern Munich was steep — and maybe not necessarily what he wanted to do.
“An advisor only told me about Munich’s interest months later (than when it first happened). And I didn’t necessarily want to move to Munich at that point, but Bayern didn’t let up,” Arp said. “At the same time, HSV fell ever deeper into the cellar. On top of that, it was brought to my attention that HSV was going to sell me anyway to fill one or other financial hole.”
When he did make the move to Bayern Munich, Arp made a strong initial impression, but was dealt a hit to his confidence from Niko Kovac before encountering a slew of injuries and ailments.
“We went into the competitive season and the coach (Kovac) didn’t take me to the first round of the Pokal in Cottbus. That was a punch in the gut,” Arp said. “That was not an easy time. It was always decided in the evening whether I would train with the first or second team the next day. I had to take my stuff home every day because I didn’t have my own locker. I also had to prove that I wasn’t the arrogant professional and I had to show that I wasn’t the guy who got the kicker grade five against Halle at the weekend.”
With all of that Arp’s confidence took a major hit.
“I had no confidence, no match practice, no continuity, and wasn’t mentally strong enough. At some point, it crushed me,” Arp remarked. “I voluntarily went to the amateurs of FC Bayern in the 3rd league last year. There I scored five season goals and we were relegated. Not the best resume, right?”
While Arp struggled on the pitch, his life off of it was not great either — though he is reluctant to talk about it because many people cite the money he was making as a reason to be happy.
“I’ll tell you: You can feel alone even with a lot of money,” Arp said. “But I’m not allowed to tell you that. If I say I’m feeling bad, I have sleep problems or am otherwise weak, then it’s said: yes, but he earns so much money. If I calculate my career, it goes like this: four seasons, twice relegated, once champion, umpteen changes of coach.”
While Arp might be in the process of the rebuilding his confidence, those tumultuous seasons in Bayern Munich might have cause some damage that will be tough to undo. The 21-year-old has just two goals and two assists in 16 matches across all competitions for Holstein Kiel — far short of what was expected of him.
“Can’t I just play a normal year? With ten, twelve goals and at the end, a solid place in the top third?” Arp said.
The good thing for Arp is he is still young enough to turn his career around, but the biggest adjustment will need to be with his mentality. Without confidence, football can be a near impossible journey to navigate.