The last time Dortmund won the Bundesliga title was 2011-12. In 34 Bundesliga matches that season, BVB conceded only 25 goals. Dortmund went undefeated in domestic competition after a September 18 loss to Hannover.
The main difference for Dortmund that season: Roman Weidenfeller. The German goalkeeper stonewalled opponents over the final 28 matches of the Bundesliga season.
Fast forward four years. Weidenfeller is now 36 years old and has clearly fallen out of favor under new Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel.
A similar situation has unfolded in England. Pep Guardiola, who recently began his tenure as boss at Manchester City, has seemingly preferred Argentine Willy Caballero over England international Joe Hart.
Extending this saga, Claudio Bravo has reportedly been linked with a move to the Etihad, making Hart’s situation less than ideal. Now, the English keeper is seeking an escape route and Dortmund is among the interested parties.
While BVB have considerable depth at goalkeeper, Hart offers something that Dortmund haven’t had in awhile: an international caliber keeper.
Currently starting in goal for BVB: Roman Bürki. Bürki, the backup keeper for the Swiss national team, came to Dortmund before the start of last season from a relegated SC Freiburg.
While Freiburg’s 2015 defensive corp was nowhere near as talented as Dortmund, Freiburg was ultimately felled by their lack of creativity on offense and their failure to keep opponents at bay.
While Bürki has been successful in Dortmund, he also shows some similarities to the 2012 version of Weidenfeller. Bürki is talented, aware, and an international backup. The difference: Bürki isn’t anywhere close to a global top ten. While Weidenfeller was still a backup, he was behind Manuel Neuer in the depth chart.
Not too shabby. But Bürki finds himself unable to dethrone Monchengladbach keeper Yann Sommer for the Swiss starting job, which right there is a huge red flag. There have been advocates for Bürki being the Swiss starter (myself included) but after his howler in the DFB-Supercup, the situation there doesn’t seem to be changing.
Enter Joe Hart. The 29-year-old Englishman has already expressed his desire to leave Manchester City after Guardiola left him on the bench for the first two competitive matches of the season.
With Sevilla and Everton also interested, the price for the Three Lions starter is a steep €17 million. For Dortmund, this might be too pricey after a buying Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle.
Reports from The Sun claim that any deal would likely be a loan move with the option to buy permanently.
Dortmund was linked with FC Koln keeper Timo Horn earlier in the summer but there didn’t seem to be any real interest in place from either side.
So will Michael Zorc and Hans-Joachim Watzke make one more move this summer? Or will they wait another season to address the goalkeeper position? We’ll just have to play the waiting game for that one.
As always, this is just a rumor and nothing official has been announced. But interest in Hart and Horn over this summer might be a sign that confidence in Roman Bürki is rapidly dropping.