An immense presence in the German top-flight and pulling off world-class saves in continental competition, Gregor Kobel is fast becoming one of the best custodians around. bundesliga.com has the lowdown on Borussia Dortmund's formidable goalkeeper, who has signed fresh terms with the club that will run until at least 2028.
Stats correct as of 5 October 2023
Age: 25 (born 6 December, 1997)
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Country: Switzerland (five caps)
Kobel played youth football for Grasshopper Club Zurich, but earned his senior breakthrough in Germany. The 6'4" goalkeeper joined Hoffenheim at just 16, signing pro terms three years later. He made 22 U19s, 43 reserve and six senior appearances for Die Kraichgauer between August 2014 and January 2019, keeping a clean sheet on his first-team debut in the 2017/18 DFB Cup first round.
Following a successful six-month loan to Bundesliga rivals Augsburg, where he earned 16 consecutive starts during the 2018/19 Rückrunde, the Switzerland international was snapped up by relegated Stuttgart. Kobel recorded 10 shut-outs in 31 league appearances as Stuttgart roared back to the big time as Bundesliga 2 runners-up in 2019/20.
The three-time German top-flight winners duly kitted him out with a permanent contract through to 30 June 2024, with their faith in Oliver Baumann's former Hoffenheim understudy proving fully vindicated. The naturally right-footed Kobel has played all but one of VfB's Bundesliga games in 2020/21, keeping five clean sheets whilst saving two of six penalties faced. With Kobel ranking eighth league-wide for shots saved, on 67 per cent that season, Dortmund had all the information they needed and swooped to sign the keeper in summer 2021.
Kobel kept nine clean sheets across 39 appearances in all competitions for BVB in 2021/22 - the season in which he made his senior Switzerland bow - helping the Black-and-Yellows to second place in the Bundesliga standings. The Zürich native's commanding performances continued the following campaign, as Kobel played an integral role as Dortmund came up agonisingly short of the German title on the final day.
Plays a bit like: Yann Sommer
Former Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach stopper Sommer has often been praised for pulling off a string of stunning saves just when his teams have needed it the most. Kobel is proving just as adept at those agile, camera-clicking moments as his Swiss compatriot. The BVB man's quick-feet, ability to get down in the blink of an eye and strength in one on ones also help to draw to comparisons with Switzerland-legend Sommer.
Did you know?
Kobel has his father partly to thank for his all-round athleticism.
Peter Kobel earned his keep as a professional ice hockey player and - despite "proudly encouraging Gregor to move to the Hoffenheim academy" - admits it took him a while to get his head around his son’s career choice.
"He was hell-bent on playing football and becoming a goalkeeper," Kobel senior recalled. "As an ice hockey forward, that made no sense to me!"
What they're saying
"I'm a totally emotional guy, Dortmund is a crazily emotional footballing location and Signal Iduna Park is an incredibly emotional stadium. I think we're simply a really good fit. Beyond that, I have the feeling that I'm simply not finished here yet! This team has the potential to win titles if every individual works hard on themselves."- Kobel after signing a new contract with the club in October 2023
"The basic rule is: wait a long time and try to force him to make a decision." - Kobel gives a little insight on facing some of the world's best striker's in one-v-one situations.
"In Dortmund, Gregor has developed into a goalkeeper of world-class calibre who has attracted the interest of many top clubs in Europe. We're proud that we were able to inspire him to continue at BVB." - Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl
"As well as being a real talent, he’s mentally strong, inquisitive and willing to learn." - Kobel’s former goalkeeper coach at Hoffenheim, Michael Rechner
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