bundesliga.com puts the quartet of the oft-impregnable custodians under the microscope...
Manuel Neuer's performances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup moved him onto another level from every other goalkeeper in world football. The first seven games of the Bundesliga season have confirmed that fact. Neuer has kept five clean sheets already, and the two goals he has conceded is a league-low. So far in 2014/15, the 28-year-old has been beaten every 315 minutes. Even more impressively, Neuer has saved 83.3 per cent of the big chances fired at him. Indeed, not only is he good with his hands, but also with his feet. A feature of his dominant displays over the summer was his eagerness to spring off his line and foil opposition attacks. Bayern coach Pep Guardiola has encouraged the same and results have so far been positive: Bayern sit four points clear at the top.
After his superb performances over five years with the club, many Borussia Mönchengladbach fans were disappointed to see Marc-Andre ter Stegen leave this past summer. In Swiss stopper, Yann Sommer, however, they have a new hero. The 25-year-old has only conceded four goals in seven games, with opposition attacks besting him once every 157.5 minutes. Sommer has also managed to repel 40 per cent of the big chances which have come his way and, perhaps reflective of the way Lucien Favre's Gladbach want to play, he is the goalkeeper with the most touches of the ball this season, with 365: an average of 52.1 per game. Additionally, his long passes have the best record in the league at finding their man: 52.6 per cent.
Having moved from SC Freiburg to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in an effort to help improve last season's joint-worst defence (70 goals conceded), the early signs are that Oliver Baumann will be an unqualified success. He has kept three clean sheets already and only conceded a goal once every 105 minutes. The 24-year-old has saved 14 of the 20 shots on his goal, although less impressively, has only stopped 12.5 per cent of the clear-cut chances. Perhaps more impressively, after Sommer, Baumann has been the custodian with the most touches of the ball this campaign with 307 - 61 more than FC Bayern's Manuel Neuer. Baumann has imposed some defensive organisation on a notoriously porous back line, as his commanding displays have amply demonstrated.
The youngest keeper on the list is Mainz's Loris Karius, at a mere 21 years young. Despite his age, he's "one of the coolest men on the pitch," according to club sporting director Christian Heidel. He's been proving that in the first seven games of the season: having saved 82.9 per cent of the shots on his goal is impressive enough, but actually holding onto 69 per cent of those is the best record of any keeper of the undefeated sides. Furthermore, Karius has saved three of the nine big chances (33.3 per cent) which have come his way, and has become a matchwinner for his team. In Mainz's impressive 2-0 home win over Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 4, the youngster saved a Ciro Immobile penalty at 1-0 - immediately after which his side went up the other end to double their lead.