Munich - Ask any football fan across the globe who is and they'll probably tell you that he's been the last line of defence for Borussia Dortmund for the best part of a decade.

Yet beyond that, not much about BVB's man between the posts is common knowledge - until now. bundesliga.com presents ten lesser-known facts about the 33-year-old...

Born in the Rhineland-Palatinate town of Diez on 6 August 1980, Weidenfelller's first steps in football came with local club Sportfreunde Eisbachtal, whom he joined at the age of five. In doing so he carried on the family tradition: his elder brother Heiko was already playing for the club's youth team, and his father was the coach. Weidenfeller might have been forgiven for wanting to play in a different position, as his very first game for the club ended in a 15-0 defeat. He seems to have put that sobering experience behind him, though.

It soon became clear that Weidenfeller was a hot prospect. At the age of 15, he was signed by the local powerhouse 1. FC Kaiserslautern, turning down the likes of SV Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt to work with legendary goalkeeping coach Gerry Ehrmann at the Betzenberg. "I felt so at home in Kaiserslautern because the club adopted me like one of their own," he recalls. He was given his first professional contract in 1999 and made his debut with the senior side in April 2001. In 2002 he moved to newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund, again opting against a move to Bremen.

Weidenfeller lifted his first piece of silverware nine years into his BVB career when die Schwarz-Gelben claimed the Bundesliga title in 2011. The day is remembered for a particularly comical interview he gave amid the celebrations. Attempting to speak in English, he couldn't help but throw some German in as well, saying: "We have a grandiose Saison gespielt", which roughly translates as "We've had a great season." The interview is now part of Bundesliga folklore and won him the "Quote of the Year" award from the Germany Academy of Football Culture.

More success followed for Weidenfeller in 2011/12 as Dortmund successfully defended their Bundesliga crown by overhauling rivals FC Bayern Munich in the final few months of the campaign. The cherry on top was over Bayern, which sealed their first ever league and cup double. Weidenfeller was actually withdrawn from the final in Berlin early on because of injury but was promptly discharged from hospital so he could return to the Olympiastadion and join in the revelry.

2012/13 was a bittersweet campaign for Weidenfeller. On a personal level, it may have been his best ever season as he distinguished himself as one of Europe's finest keepers with some superb displays in the UEFA Champions League, and a famous performance against Bayern at the Allianz Arena. However, silverware eluded him as Dortmund finished second in the league and lost to Bayern in both cups, most notably the Champions League final in London on 25 May.

Despite winning two league titles, a DFB Cup and playing over 300 games in the Bundesliga, until late 2013 Weidenfeller had, to the surprise of many, never been called up to the Germany squad. In the words of BVB coach Jürgen Klopp, he was "the best uncapped goalkeeper in the world". That was set to change as Weidenfeller prepared for a debut against England on a ground which held sour memories: Wembley.

As a model professional, Weidenfeller accepts that his job takes up most of his time: "There isn't much free time in a footballer's daily routine. We train, we have lunch, then we have individual strength training or physio work; after that it's media and press duties; and then there are away games. That doesn't leave you much time. What little time I do have I spend with friends and family."

Weidenfeller recently put a pair of his personal football boots up for sale on behalf of the United Charity project. As of 16 June, the amount still to be raised was €405. He also made an appearance in the farewell game of former Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Bayern and Germany captain Michael Ballack, helping to raise money for the victims of the recent flooding in Europe.

Weidenfeller's CV also includes a course as an office administrator, which he took at the age of 16 before deciding on football as a career. Since 2010, Weidenfeller has been in a relationship with model Lisa Rossenbach, who is a regular guest at the Signal-Iduna-Park.

Speaking in a 2010 interview with fussball-limburg-weilburg.de, Weidenfeller expressed his desire to continue playing at the highest level for as long as possible. "I want to be able to play for another eight to ten years. What happens after that I can't really say, but I'd be open to anything that allows me to enjoy myself."



Compiled by Bernie Reeves