With the Rückrunde fast upon us, bundesliga.com runs the rule over the hot and cold custodians desperate to wipe the slate clean and nail down a starting berth in 2014…
No stranger to a blunder, Schalke’s Timo Hildebrand may already have played his last game for the Royal Blues after making costly errors against Eintracht Frankfurt and Chelsea FC. With 25-year-old Ralf Fährmann, who kept three clean sheets in his last four pre-winter outings, now head coach Jens Keller’s shot-stopper of choice, the news that the former Germany international is to leave the club at the end of the season comes as little surprise.
Marwin Hitz appears to have the edge on veteran guardian Alexander Manninger at eighth-placed Augsburg, having held down his position between the sticks since Matchday 11 of the 2013/14 campaign, recording three shut-outs in the process. Even further down the pecking order, meanwhile, is Mohamed Amsif, whose last appearance handed three points to SV Werder Bremen on Matchday 2.
No less than four wannabe No1s are vying for the affections of head coach Thomas Tuchel at Mainz, with Loris Karius currently leading the way ahead of Christian Wetklo and Heinz Müller, following a six-match run in the starting XI (Matchdays 12-17). The arrival of Croatian international Dario Kresic on a short-term deal from FC Lokomotiv Moskva, however, suggests Tuchel has not found true love in the goalkeeping department just yet.
At no other club in the Bundesliga is the line between first- and second-choice goalkeeper quite so blurred as at 11th-placed Bremen. Sebastian Mielitz started the Hinrunde as No1, only to later lose his place - after conceding 23 goals in 13 games - to Raphael Wolf, who has already fished out 14 goals in four appearances, seven of which were plundered by FIFA Club World Cup champions FC Bayern München on Matchday 15. Good luck with that one, Herr Dutt.
Koen Casteels was between the posts for 34 of the joint-league-high 38 goals shipped by 12th-placed Hoffenheim during the first half of the season. The Belgian relinquished his place to 21-year-old Jens Grahl for the final three games before the winter break, yet still the wait goes on for the Sinsheimers' first clean sheet of the campaign. The two candidates for the No1 jersey, though, have only just penned new deals at the club.
Braunschweig's Iranian international goalkeeper Daniel Davari will be desperate to hold down his place at rock-bottom Braunschweig, with the 2014 FIFA World Cup now less than five months away. The 26-year-old has started 13 of the Lions' 17 Bundesliga outings so far this term, but faces stiff competition from the fit-again Marjan Petkovic, who excelled in a recent 1-0 winter friendly win over Swiss champions FC Basel 1893.
Compiled by Christopher Mayer-Lodge
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