Arminia Bielefeld goalkeeper Stefan Ortega was among the Bundesliga's best stoppers in 2021/22. - © Reinaldo Coddou H./Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty
Arminia Bielefeld goalkeeper Stefan Ortega was among the Bundesliga's best stoppers in 2021/22. - © Reinaldo Coddou H./Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty

Stefan Ortega: Who is the shot-stopping goalkeeper extraordinaire?


Stefan Ortega’s consistently excellent performances in goal for Arminia Bielefeld were recognised when he was named on standby for Germany’s UEFA Euro 2020 squad. profiles the shotstopper who has proven himself at the top level.

Stefan Ortega

Age: 29
Club: Manchester City
Position: Goalkeeper
Country: Germany (uncapped)

Key stats

Born in the German county of Calden to Spanish parents, Ortega had a single international call-up to his name as a younster, but he was an unused substitute for Germany's U19 team in 2010. Joining Bielefeld from Hessen Kessel, he worked his way through the U17 and U19s to earn a senior debut back when the club were kicking about in Germany’s third division. However, despite making 24 appearances in 2011/12, he was barely involved the following campaign.

Midway through the 2013/14 season, Ortega finally managed to dislodge Patrick Platins, after a run of three straight defeats, to become Arminia's No1. He conceded just 12 goals in the final 11 games of the season to help them secure a relegation play-off berth. Defeat to Darmstadt meant relegation to the third division, but Ortega remained in Bundesliga 2 by joining 1860 Munich.

Ortega (r.) reminded Bielefeld what they were missing during a formative stint at 1860 Munich. - imago

After two seasons in Munich, and more play-off heartache, he returned to Bielefeld in 2017, and missed only four league games from then until the end of 2021/22. His contribution to the East Westphalians' promotion-winning campaign in 2019/20 was considerable, with a division-best 30 goals conceded in 34 games, including 14 clean sheets.

Finally in the big time, Ortega proved to be almost as unbeatable as he had been at a lower level, keeping 11 shut-outs during his debut Bundesliga campaign. He also boasted the third-best save ratio (69.9 per cent), and even provided the assist for Bielefeld's first goal back in the big time, from one of his league-leading haul of passes for a goalkeeper. In 2021/22 he was unable to stop Bielefeld from being relegated, despite having the second-most saves in the Bundesliga (128).

Plays a bit like: Keylor Navas

Ortega is unique in the Bundesliga for being a sub-6'1" keeper with the abilities to cover every angle of his goal frame. The same height and with the self-same jungle-cat reactions, Paris Saint-Germain's Keylor Navas provides a handy reference point.

There are also shades of former Germany goalkeeping coach Andreas Köpke, their No.1 when they last won the Euros in 1996. Köpke might well have been reminded of himself when recommending Joachim Löw to move him up the queue of potential stoppers ahead of Euro 2020 last year.

Did you know?

Known as “Tego” among his teammates, in April 2021 he became the first Bielefeld player since 2017 to be included in EA Sports’ Ultimate Team of the Week for FIFA 21, thanks to his exceptional performance against Mainz on Matchday 27 of the 2020/21 campaign, making a number of saves to preserve a 1-1 draw. “I’ll put the trophy in a nice spot at home,” he said afterwards.

Watch: Stefan Ortega's top 5 Bundesliga saves

What they’re saying

"It was super-human. Perhaps he’s got knock knees, I don’t know!" - Bielefeld captain Fabian Klos on a remarkable point-blank Ortega save from VfB Stuttgart's Sasa Kalajdzic 

"He's more like an outfield player." - former Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg coach Florian Kohfeldt