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Hinrunde Review: Roman Burki

The Swiss goalkeeper’s presence in the first half of the season was perhaps most felt in his absence.

Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Roman Burki’s first season with Dortmund was a bit up-and-down. Despite Dortmund’s very good finish on the season and rather stunning rebound from Jurgen Klopp’s final season with the club, more than a few people wondered if Roman Burki’s hands really were safe to carry the club moving forward. His second season has ironically seen a dramatic improvement in his consistency while Dortmund’s fortunes as a club have taken a dip. But Roman Burki’s impact on Dortmund’s Hinrunde has been felt more in his absence than anything else.

Roman Weidenfeller is an absolute legend for Dortmund. Nothing he has done for the club can be taken away from him. But that is absolutely atrocious goalkeeping: the type of indecisive error you expect from an academy prospect in his first senior friendly appearance as he adjusts to the speed of the game, not a veteran like Weidenfeller. And while the German still has a bit of magic left in those gloves (that he seems to always store up for Real Madrid), this was far from the only time this has happened since Burki’s injury forced him from the field. Weidenfeller has looked slower to react, weaker in the box, and perhaps most sadly: old.

Burki is not a perfect keeper by any stretch of the imagination, but he was very good this Hinrunde, especially considering the porous defense that’s been trotted out in front of him in the wake of Mats Hummels’ departure. He, much like vintage Weidenfeller, has the capability to make some stunning saves, and showed as much last year as well.

But it was Burki’s consistency that stood out in the Hinrunde. Over 900 minutes of play so far this season, Burki has allowed 9 goals. That averages out to .01 goals a minute, or just under 1 goal a game. Last season, he allowed 34 goals over 2,970 minutes of play, which averages out to just a bit above 1 goal per game. Yes, the sample size from last year is much larger, and the difference might seem minuscule (0.9 goals against per game vs. 1.03 goals against per game, to be exact), but consider Burki’s circumstances: last season, he had one of the best center backs in the world playing in front of him nearly every week. This season, that center back is at Bayern, and he’s been treated to the Marc Bartra show for a healthy chunk of the Hinrunde. Also consider Weidenfeller’s tally on the season: in 540 minutes of play, he’s allowed 10 goals, or 1.7 goals a game. Essentially, in the Hinrunde, teams scored nearly twice as many goals per game on Weidenfeller as they did on Burki.

Obviously, statistics don’t tell the whole story. Both Weidenfeller and Burki made some huge saves for Dortmund in the Hinrunde. But at this point, one of the top priorities for Dortmund’s medical staff is making sure Burki’s hand heals properly and he’s ready for Dortmund as soon as medically possible. Roman Weidenfeller has been a great goalkeeper for BVB. But if Dortmund have any shot at winning a competition this season, it will be with Roman Burki in the net.

All statistics taken from FOX Sports.