Good Morning Friends of the Wall,
The first leg of all Round of 16 ties in the Champions League have now been wrapped up. Here’s the full list of results:
RB Leipzig 0-2 Liverpool
Barcelona 1-4 PSG
Sevilla 2-3 Borussia Dortmund
Porto 2-1 Juventus
Atletico Madrid 0-1 Chelsea
Lazio 1-4 Bayern Munich
Atalanta 0-1 Real Madrid
Borussia Monchengladbach 0-2 Man City
I think it’s fair to say that Man City, Bayern, and PSG are the favorites at this point. Man City didn’t look amazing against Gladbach, but they have been on an incredible run of form lately, while Bayern and PSG both looked brilliant in their ties.
If the teams that currently lead were to go through, that would mean Liverpool, PSG, BVB, Porto, Chelsea, Bayern, Real, and Man City would make it through to the Quarter Finals. There’s not many teams in that draw that I’d favor Borussia Dortmund to beat.
Hitz Signs Contract Extension
Borussia Dortmund have announced that 33 year old goalkeeper, Marwin Hitz, has signed a contract extension to keep him at the club until 2023.
While a backup goalkeeper signing an extension isn’t usually big news, Hitz’s extension potentially has wider ramifications. BVB have been linked to a number of goalkeepers around Europe, and with Burki and now Hitz signed on to stay at the club through the next couple seasons, there is potential for a logjam at the position. Add to that the fact that young prospect, Luca Unbehaun, may be knocking at the first team door in the near future, something has to give.
Keeping Hitz around means one of two things— Lars Pollmann (@LarsPollmann) February 25, 2021
A) They're confident they can sell Bürki
B) They're not confident they can find (= pay) a new #1
I think he is absolutely right. If Watzke and Zorc are intending on bringing another goalkeeper in this summer, it’s hard to see how they could justify keeping both Burki and Hitz, and given that Hitz’s contract was due to expire, this was an ideal opportunity for the club to make some room.
Given all the rumors linking BVB to a new goalkeeper, I am optimistic that this extension means that Burki will be sold. Hitz is a solid backup, will be considerably cheaper than Burki. At 33, being the backup at a top club is also a very comfortable place for a goalkeeper like Hitz, whereas Burki probably still feels like he should be starting, whether at BVB or elsewhere. In addition to all this, I think Burki will fetch a decent return if sold, so I see this move as a positive sign. Hitz certainly thinks so!
Having recently spent an uncomfortable amount of time studying Roman Burki, I am convinced that BVB need to replace him, but that he still has plenty to offer another club. I think he is a good goalkeeper, but Burki and the BVB defense are a bad fit. I really like Burki, and he’s one of few players that I’m genuinely fond of.
I’m sure there are plenty of clubs that could benefit from Roman Burki’s skill set. If he can find a club that would offer an environment that better suits his needs, whether that be due to lower expectations or a much more stable defense, I think he would thrive. I think he would be a great fit for Southampton, and would be thrilled if he joined the club. I’d add Everton and Wolves to the list of teams that might be interested in him, and that would be good for him. If he could be tempted into playing as a backup, I also think he’d be tremendous for Liverpool too. Either way, I hope that Burki moves on soon, and I’ll be cheering him on if he is playing for someone else next season.
The Daily Buzz
What do you think Hitz’s extension means for BVB’s goalkeeper conundrum? And where would you like to see Burki playing next season, if he leaves?