Stuttgart - Kicking off pre-season training in front of a good 20,000 spectators, Mitch Langerak’s first taste of life at VfB Stuttgart couldn’t have been any sweeter.
“It was a great way to start,” he enthused after Monday’s sun-soaked workout. “It just goes to show what a massive club with great tradition and fantastic fans VfB really are.”
'Competition for places is normal'
Langerak joins the Cannstadt club in search of regular first-team football following five years largely spent playing second fiddle to Roman Weidenfeller at Borussia Dortmund. He racked up 35 appearances in the Bundesliga, DFB Cup, UEFA Champions League and German Supercup during that time, but is still by no means guaranteed the vacant No.1 jersey left by Sven Ulreich, who recently moved to FC Bayern München.
“I’m well aware that I have to fight hard during pre season so that I also get to play,” the 26-year-old told club website vfb.de. “For goalkeepers it’s completely normal to be in competition with two or three others. We all have to fight for our starting place. It’s what I expected and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
'Proud to be part of it'
The three-way battle between the sticks pits Langerak up against former PSV Eindhoven stopper Przemyslaw Tyton, who spent last season on loan at relegated La Liga outfit Elche FC, and VfB Academy graduate Odisseas Vlachodimos. There's no question he has the quality and experience to come out on top in the long run, but for now the six-time Australian international is happy enough focusing on the collective.
“When the season gets under way, the most important thing is that we get off to a good start - then we’ll see what what’s possible,” he explained, acutely aware that his new employers only avoided relegation to the second division thanks to a dramatic 2-1 win over SC Paderborn 07 on the final day of the 2014/15 campaign. “The team has quality and I’m proud to be a part of it.”