Munich - A moment 267 days in the making and one seized with both hands: Borussia Dortmund's Australian stopper Mitchell Langerak unquestionably made the most of a rare Bundesliga appearance on Matchday 20.
The 24-year-old once again proved a lucky omen as the champions battled to victory over direct rivals Bayer Leverkusen, with Langerak tasting success on the Bundesliga stage for the seventh time in as many competitive appearances for the Yellow-Blacks.
The Australian last turned out between the Dortmund sticks in the DFB Cup final in May 2012. Aside from being beaten by Franck Ribery's sizzling consolation strike, he was rarely tested on the day, but just as he did against Leverkusen, Langerak proved a worthy and reliable understudy to Dortmund No1 Roman Weidenfeller.
"I always train hard and stay focused on my duties", explained the Queensland-born goalkeeper. "You always have to be ready to play, just like my last appreance in the final against Bayern Munich. I'm happy if I can help the team, but I was just doing my job."
Langerak certainly put in a fine shift on Sunday, particularly after the restart. Leverkusen substitute Sidney Sam set the tone with a warning shot just two minutes into the second half, before Dortmund's resident Australian took centre stage with a jaw-dropping save to deny Stefan Kießling's point-blank header.
It was a pivotal passage of play not just in the game but in the wider context of Dortmund's season, and the champions survived. "We were really under pressure", said Langerak. "Leverkusen came out refreshed and gave it everything to turn the game. That's why it was such a difficult game for us, but we didn't give in and in the end, we came away with the three points."
"Easy for me"
While Langerak's heroic stop from Kießling earned the post-match plaudits, the modest and grounded custodian was quick to deflect attention away from his own display onto the team performance that reinstated Dortmund as Bayern's nearest challengers in second.
"It's my job to make some difficult saves and help the team, but the ten lads in front make it easy for me," said Langerak, who looks set to return to the BVB bench once again come Saturday, having done his, Dortmund's, Australia's and the Bundesliga's reputation the world of good.