Widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the Bundesliga, Borussia Mönchengladbach's Yann Sommer has caught the eye with Switzerland at UEFA Euro 2020.
bundesliga.com trains a spotlight on the 32-year-old Swiss stopper...
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Country: Switzerland (65 caps)
Born 17 December 1988 in Morges, a Swiss municipality that sits along Lake Geneva, Sommer joined the youth ranks of Switzerland's 20-time champions Basel in 2003. Two years later, aged 17, he penned his first professional terms, and after two years with the club's U21 side, he was loaned to FC Vaduz in the second-tier to gain senior experience. The young 'keeper featured in 33 of 34 games, and made two more appearances in UEFA Cup qualifying, as Sommer and Vaduz went on to clinch both the second division and promotion to the top flight.
Another 17 appearances followed with the Lichtenstein-based outfit after promotion, before Basel recalled their 20-year-old goalie after a goalkeeping shortage that presented Sommer with the chance to finally make his Basel debut with a six-game league run. A subsequent loan to Grasshopper Zurich followed in 2009/10, before Sommer eventually nailed down the No.1 spot in 2011/12. Having featured for Switzerland's youth teams - and after finishing runner-up with the U21 side at the UEFA European U21 Championship in 2011 - Sommer's reward for his Basel ascension was a senior international debut on 30 May 2012 against Romania.
He went on to win four league titles and the Swiss Cup with Basel, keeping 65 clean sheets in 170 appearances before making the move to Gladbach in the summer of 2014. Sommer has since established himself as one of the league's best in his position and was named ahead of the likes of Peter Gulacsi and Manuel Neuer in the 2019/20 Team of the Season. That was on the back of a campaign that saw Sommer make more saves than any of his peers (126) and end the year with the highest save rate of any first-choice goalkeeper (75 per cent).
By now, Sommer has 229 Bundesliga matches under his belt and 64 clean sheets to his name. Not only that, he has also represented the club in two UEFA Europa League and three Champions League campaigns, while providing nine shutouts in 42 European outings for the Foals. Sommer has been totting up his 65 Switzerland caps during that time and is firmly in possession of the gloves for his country at UEFA Euro 2020, his fourth major international tournament having been selected in previous squads at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups and the 2016 Euros.
Watch: Straight talk with Yann Sommer
Plays a bit like: Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Sommer was brought to Gladbach as Ter Stegen's replacement when the Germany international headed to Barcelona and the transition ultimately proved seamless. Ter Stegen may be slightly taller than Sommer, but the pair share similar traits.
First and foremost, both are world-class shot stoppers. Not only that, they are two of the most agile 'keepers in the game thanks to their cat-like reflexes and are each superb with the ball at their feet. Their distribution is up there with the very best also, as Sommer himself highlighted after taking up the Gladbach torch from Ter Stegen, saying: "When you look at his playmaking, I believe he's the best in our position that there is."
Did you know?
Goalkeepers the world over dread the sight of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski in the opposition's ranks but, believe it or not, Sommer actually "enjoys" facing the Poland captain. "He's a special striker, one of the best I have played against," Sommer told bundesliga.com. "I enjoy playing against him and all good strikers because it's a great challenge for me as a goalkeeper to play against such players.
"You have to be really concentrated against them because they're very clever, they make great runs and are good finishers, so you always have to be ready and be something of a perfectionist when it comes to positioning, speed and one-on-ones. It's a great challenge against these players."
What they're saying
"Yann is one of the best goalkeepers in Europe... He's also important for our team structure as a person. Yann works hard every day to stay at the same level or even push further forward in some areas. He's an absolute role model." - former Gladbach coach Marco Rose
“Yann Sommer is one of the most underrated goalkeepers in Europe. Not the biggest, but how he can play football. Not many goalies can do that.” - legendary Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel
"[Sommer] is better with his feet than most outfield players of Schalke. That's not a joke - I really believe that." - former HSV midfielder Rafael van der Vaart on Sommer's ability with his feet
"When I was younger, I was always on the football pitch. Funnily enough, I was never in goal. Personally, I wanted to be out scoring goals. [At Basel] I had a year or two when I was the number three goalkeeper and often played right-back, right-wing or in the middle in training and I learned an awful lot from that, playing against [Xherdan] Shaqiri, [Mladen] Petric and the likes, so I was able to learn a lot when it comes to playing with my feet." - Sommer himself on his considerable talent with the ball at his feet