They normally spend their time sitting on the bench and providing help during the matchday warm-up, but then they are called upon at short notice to jump between the posts. Welcome to the life of the reserve goalkeeper. This season has already seen a number of number twos filling in more than admirably for the first-choice goalkeeper in the Bundesliga
A minor adductor muscle injury to captain Peter Gulacsi handed German keeper Janis Blaswich starts against Union Berlin and Wolfsburg, but then the Hungarian returned. However, a serious season-ending cruciate knee ligament injury suffered by Gulacsi in the Champions League means that the 31-year-old will now deputise for the rest of the season.
It was a brave decision to join Leipzig in the summer leaving Dutch side Heracles Almelo, where he was captain and guaranteed first team football. The move to Leipzig meant a season on the bench as a back-up- until fate stepped in.
“We trust Janis. He exudes calm, clarity, catches balls, plays very well with the ball. He makes clear decisions. That’s why we have a lot of trust in him,” Leipzig coach has explained.
Blaswich had previously played in Germany for Borussia Mönchengladbach’s reserve side, and loans at Hansa Rostock and Dynamo Dresden before moving to the Netherlands in 2018.
Rafal Gikiewicz had been one of Augsburg’s stand-out performers in turning their poor start to the season around with vital saves against Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich helping to secure important points. Therefore, news of his muscle injury was not what trainer Enrico Maaßen wanted to hear.
Deputy Tomas Koubek came in for the matchday 9 clash with VfL Wolfsburg and put in a Man-of-the-Match performance to keep the visitors to just one goal in a 1-1 draw. No Gikiewicz, nor worries.
He has conceded three against Köln and five against Bayern in the Pokal, but he has shown himself to be a more than able stand-in. He pulled off a particularly superb save to deny Sadio Mané from point-blank range.
A torn muscle and then a back issue have kept Borussia Dortmund keeper Gregor Kobel on the sidelines early in the season, but number two Alexander Meyer has provided excellent cover so far. The 31-year-old has appeared in some big league games (the Revierderby and der Klassiker) as well as three Champions League matches. He was particularly impressive during the 4-1 away win over Sevilla
Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer doesn’t miss many games as he generally keeps himself in good shape and avoids injuries. However, when he does have to sit out, veteran goalkeeper Sven Ulreich is always on hand to step in and can be relied upon to do the business in Neuer’s absence.
A recent shoulder injury to Neuer has given Ulreich starts against Freiburg (Bundesliga), Plzeň (Champions League) and Augsburg (Pokal). With the World Cup coming up, Neuer is going to be in no rush to hurry his recovery and that means more times between the posts for Sven Ulreich.
Sippel is yet to play this season, but with Yann Sommer suffering an ankle injury in the DFB Pokal match against Darmstadt, he is about to be called upon to fill in for the Swiss custodian.