The signing of Max Kruse this summer by Union Berlin showed the ambition of the club to improve the squad and maintain their position as a Bundesliga club, while the loan signing of goalkeeper Loris Karius on loan from Liverpool also looked a shrewd bit of business from die Eisernen.
However, the keeper has been forced into an early role as the number two custodian and his immediate prospects look bleak. It is a luxurious problem for coach Urs Fischer to deal with, but a problem, nonetheless.
27-year-old Karius is still rather unfairly tainted by his error for Liverpool in the 2018 Champions League final and spent last season on loan at Turkish side Besiktas. Looking to get his career back on track with his time at Anfield seemingly over, the former Mainz keeper joined Union this summer following the departure of Rafal Gikiewicz.
“The signing of Loris Karius means we have secured a goalkeeper with great national and international experience,” declared Oliver Ruhnert, Union’s director of professional football. “His strengths are well known, so we are pleased to be in an excellent position in this important role of the team from our perspective. For Loris it offers the chance to focus again on the Bundesliga in a stable environment and to try to stay in the league with Union.”
The player, who emerged as one of the most promising goalkeeping talents at Mainz between 2013 and 2016 was also pleased with his decision to move to Köpenick. “I’m looking forward to my new opportunity in Berlin and I’m happy to be playing in the Bundesliga again” he said on his arrival. “Union is a special club, one that has earned a great deal of respect, not just by promotion to the Bundesliga. I would like to play my part in this positive development and help to achieve the great goal of staying in the Bundesliga.”
However, Union had also signed Andreas Luthe from Augsburg and it was the 33-year-old, who completed the majority of pre-season and who got the nod for the season opener against his former side. Despite a 3-1 defeat, he kept his place and against Borussia Mönchengladbach, Mainz and Schalke have given Urs Fischer no reason to drop him with some solid performances.
The principal appears to be that Luthe hold the number one spot and until Fischer is given a reason to change, he will retain it. Defensive consistency begins with regular goalkeeper, who commands the belief and faith of his defenders and it the first four Bundesliga matches, Andreas Luthe has done just that.
Karius, who was good enough for Liverpool and played in a Champions League final will certainly want to shift Luthe from the number one spot and be given the opportunity to repair his reputation. The gloves then are very much in Andreas Luthe’s possession right now and it is up to him to keep them.
Patience appears to the key for Loris Karius now.