Thomas Kahlenberg presumed he was taking a step in the right direction when he decided to leave Auxerre after four seasons in France to join reigning Bundesliga title-holders Wolfsburg in the summer of 2009. His first season with the Wolves however can only be described as a let-down.
The 27-year-old got off to a bad start with his new club when he struggled for fitness during the pre-season due to hip and back problems, and he did not make his Bundesliga debut until the end of October. He played another eight times between then and the end of March but never managed the full 90 minutes, and the midfielder himself was the first to admit that he had failed to live up to expectations. His lack of playing time even began to threaten his place in the squad for South Africa, with coach Morten Olsen saying all along that playing time for the various squad members with their clubs was a decisive factor.
Kahlenberg has since managed to turn his season around however, and Olsen will be happy to rely on the two-time Danish league winner (2002, 2005) who was also the youngest member of Denmark's UEFA Euro 2004 squad, although he did not get any playing time at the tournament.
The midfielder wrote his name in the annals by scoring the only goal of the game in his nation's penultimate 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against arch Scandinavian rivals Sweden. That was his first and only goal of the campaign, but what an important strike it turned out to be.
Kahlenberg's presence in the team is a guarantee of a Danish victory – or at least it has been in qualifying matches. He featured in six of them for the 2006 and 2010 tournaments, and the 'Danish Dynamite' picked up all three points every time. The results were even more impressive when Kahlenberg played in the South Africa qualifiers, with the team keeping three clean sheets in their wins over Malta (3-0), Albania (again 3-0) and Sweden (the vital 1-0 victory).