They’ve been in vogue for a while, but have German goalkeepers jumped the shark?
Consider that earlier this season, Borussia Dortmund’s Roman Weidenfeller kicked a ball straight at the head of teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Dortmund went on to lose the lead and all three points to rivals Bayern Munich. Weidenfeller then went on to lose his status as BVB’s starting goalkeeper a month later, leaving his unintentional attack on a teammate as one of the highlights of his season.
But also consider this example of peak Neuer-love: a new piece in Madame Tussauds waxwork museum in Berlin. The adored sweeper-keeper doubled up with himself in goal, explaining a lot about why Bayern have conceded just four goals this season. As little time as Neuer spends away from his own goal line, who knows what types of bawdy art he has stashed near his goal.
Beyond Neuer, though, there’s little known Arvid Schenk, who has now left Scottish club Dundee after making only one appearance, which it would seem fair to describe as among the worst debuts in the history of soccer. Schenk’s sole slice of first-team action was a 6-2 defeat on New Year’s Day at the merciless hands of rivals Dundee United, the team that’s quite literally from across the street.
The match was such a disaster for the 25-year-old that in its aftermath, Dundee considered giving their injured reserve goalkeeper a painkilling injection to get him on the field rather than use Schenk again.
Now we wait to see whether German goalkeeper, veteran Timo Hildebrand (just released by Eintracht Frankfurt), will end up in MLS “before his son’s first day at school.” His son’s three, so is Hildebrand counting pre-K, or is his son a boy genius and intends to enroll in elementary school? Will school acceptance play a pivotal role in Hildebrand’s destination? Has he ever spiked a teammate in the head during a vital match?
At this point, there are more questions than answers, though it seems a shame we’ve spent so much time fawning over Manuel Neuer when a cupboard of German oddities are waiting to be lionized. After all, what’s truly more remarkable: revolutionizing one position in a meaningless game like soccer, or potentially spawning a boy genius? I don’t know for sure, but I bet Timo Hildebrand’s son does.