Former Excelsior player Freek Muhlenbruch passed away – Excelsior Rotterdam

Former Excelsior player Freek Muhlenbruch has died at the age of 77, his family has informed us. Muhlenbruch was active as a defender in the first team for eight seasons and was promoted from the second to the premier league between 1968 and 1970 under the leadership of trainer Bob Janse.

Guided by his father, Freek Muhlenbruch joined Excelsior when he was nine. He was accepted, progressed through the highest youth teams and eventually received a contract with the paid youth via the C1 and B1. In an interview with Het Vrije Volk, he mentioned then youth chairman Jaap Bontenbal as an important man in his Excelsior career: “Together with Henk Zon, he managed to control the pure drive that I was in those days. Without those men I wouldn’t have eaten a bag of salt at Excelsior.”

Now that worked, because Muhlenbruch joined the first team in 1964, trained at the time by Rinus Smits. Excelsior often played in the second division and in 1968 Smits was succeeded by Bob Janse. That was the best trainer he had ever had: “If he let a few god verses roll, you would have to walk through a wall for him.” Under the leadership of Janse, Excelsior was promoted to the first division in 1969 and a year later even to the premier league.

Freek Muhlenbruch played a total of 171 games for Excelsior. In 1972 he left the club and went to Xerxes. Until his death, he spoke passionately about his football career and his time at Excelsior. We wish the family a lot of strength with this loss.

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