Borussia Dortmund has loaded up on tons of young talent recently as well as adding experienced players into the mix.
The midfield position has thrived the most under this new “Youth Revolution” craze at the Wesfalenstadion. Not to mention that Dortmund has also stacked up on a pair of skilled forwards in Ousmane Dembele and Alexander Isak, but also world-class defenders like Marc Bartra, Raphael Guerreiro, and Omer Toprak.
One position Dortmund has truly failed to bolster through all of this is goalkeeper. Although it’s important to have a solid goal-scoring attack and a stingy defense, it’s a marvel to think Dortmund has let adding a goalkeeper fall through the cracks.
The trio of first team goalkeepers currently on the BVB roster are Roman Burki, Roman Weidenfeller, and Hendrik Bonmann. Each possesses the talent needed to play at the top level in not only the Bundesliga but in European competition as well. Here’s the problem: within the next two seasons, all three of their contracts will have expired.
Roman Weidenfeller, at the ripe old age of 36, looks to be in his last go-around for Dortmund after signing a one-year deal at the close of last season. As hard as it is to imagine a Dortmund squad without Weidenfeller, our wildest dreams can even sometimes come true.
The grizzled-old keeper reportedly has not considered retirement, but the signing of another younger, world-class goalie could change that. Perhaps Weidenfeller could become a more in-shape and less-corrupt version of Wayne Shaw and join the technical staff as a player coach; certainly not out of the question.
Roman Burki, 26, has come into his own at Dortmund and shown he can be a starter for a top-tier club. But is he really the future for BVB? As much as he has shone bright in his time at Dortmund, in order for BVB to reach the next level pinnacle, they will need an international caliber goalkeeper. Although Burki has received international call-ups for his native Switzerland, he has fallen out of favor and is often passed up for Yann Sommer.
As for Hendrik Bonmann, despite rising through the ranks in the Dortmund academy, it doesn’t appear there will be any opening for him in the first team any time soon. Rather than wait another year and let his contract expire next June, selling Bonmann, albeit cheaply, should be a priority this summer.
With a big club like Hamburger SV possibly getting relegated, it might be a preferred destination for a player like Bonmann to get some playing experience for a team that would likely be repromoted the next season. Likewise, for clubs like VfB Stuttgart and Hannover 96 also in line to rejoin the Bundesliga ranks next season, Bonmann could serve as a suitable backup at a club looking to add Bundesliga experience.
Last summer, it was difficult to understand why Dortmund was looking at goalkeepers. Since then, it has become increasingly obvious why it is absolutely necessary to do so now.
A lot of young goaltenders on Dortmund’s radar are signed through 2019 with a few veteran options set to be unattached after this season. If Dortmund go young, signing them now or in the summer of 2018 makes the most sense. Until then, a veteran signing might be the way to go if BVB cannot lure any of its young targets.
If they take the route of signing a veteran keeper, two names come to mind that have popped up on Dortmund’s radar in the past: Joe Hart and Wojciech Szczesny. Both have experience playing for top-level English Premier League teams as well as highly-competitive Serie A sides.
Joe Hart was linked with a move to Dortmund last offseason during his “Summer Saga” at the Etihad. The out-of-favor English international was loaned by new Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola to FC Torino for a season. Hart’s stellar play helped Man City earn a pair of Premier League crowns in 2012 and 2014
In 24 appearances for Torino, Hart has stopped 81 shots and conceded 38 goals (1.58 GAPG). However, these stats may be inflated given the thin and injury-ridden defensive corps for The Bulls. Torino’s defense is barely equipped to handle top-level competition in the Serie A, explaining their mid-table positioning. With a highly-skilled defense in front of him at Dortmund, Hart could prove, once again, that he is an elite keeper. But his deal would likely be a loan away from City and not permanent.
Fellow Serie A goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny could also be a solid choice for Dortmund keeper. On loan from another English giant Arsenal, Szczesny likely has no place in his old club with the re-emergence of Petr Cech along with a solid second choice in David Ospina. Signed with Arsenal until the end of the 2018 season, Szczesny could see another loan spell before his contract expires - a loan with an option to sign permanently.
This caveat makes Szczesny even more desirable as a year to make an impression at a new club before being permanently inked gives his suitors a chance to judge him. In addition, if Szczesny is loaned to Dortmund ahead of next season, he would not only be competing for the starting job but for a lucrative deal the next season. Plus, getting to link up with fellow Polish international Lukasz Piszczek would be an advantage as well.
However, if Dortmund elects to go with a younger option in net, it appears that Timo Horn would be the likely candidate. Horn was linked with a move to Dortmund last summer as well and is signed with FC Koln until June 2019. With next summer being a World Cup year, the pressure for Horn to play well and make Germany’s roster would be immense, forcing him to play at his very best.
With Timo Horn signed to Dortmund, it would likely mean Burki’s role would be reduced to Champions League and DFB-Pokal games, still giving him an important role in the squad. At only 23, Horn looks poised to be the next Manuel Neuer. Having him in Dortmund while this improvement occurs would be an added bonus.
While goalkeeper might not be the top priority for Dortmund, looking around for possible summer signings now is extremely important for a Dortmund team on the rise.