“I’d never have thought that I’d be putting the goalscorer in goal,” admitted head coach Markus Weinzierl, who couldn’t hide the grin on his face as he discussed handing the goalscoring goalkeeper his first start since partially tearing ligaments in his right knee at the end of November.
Such a spectacular return between the sticks is something the serene Swiss shot-stopper couldn’t have dreamt up, as he became the first No1 to find the back of a Bundesliga net since Hans-Jörg Butt in 2006. Talking to the assembled press after a victory lap inside the SGL arena, the 27-year-old shed some light on those crazy last few seconds that rescued the Fuggerstädter an all-important point that keeps them ahead of their hosts in the standings.
‘I just happened to be in the right place’
Question: Marwin Hitz, give us your account of those sensational last few minutes and your injury time equaliser!
Marwin Hitz: I looked towards the head coach and he waved me forward for the corner. I lingered for a long time at the back post because I was convinced no one would pick me up there. Then I made a darting run into the mix, but unfortunately the corner was too short and ended up being cleared. We kept the danger alive though. I thought I’d stay up front because it would be a long way to run back and then I just happened to be in the right place.
Question: Lots of goalkeepers attack chances with their head because they feel more confident in the air, but you put it away with your right foot.
Hitz: I’d never have got that in with my head (laughs). It was the right decision to strike it with my foot.
Question: It was also a difficult chance to take from a technical standpoint, not everyone is able to score goals like that.
Hitz: I’ve always been a goalkeeper, but during my days playing youth football I spent a fair bit of time up front. During the warm-up I always preferred to shot at goal instead of standing between the posts myself. Perhaps that paid off today.
‘It wasn’t easy to get back in the groove’
Question: You scored with your right foot, but did you notice any problems in your knee having only just returned from a torn ligament?
Hitz: No, not at all. I’m wearing an ‘old school’ knee brace - maybe that made the difference.
Question: This was your first competitive appearance since Matchday 12. Was it difficult for you to get back into the swings of things initially?
Hitz: I’ve been out injured for quite a while and had to cope with a few setbacks along the way. It wasn’t easy to get back in the groove and the condition the pitch was in didn’t make it any easier. I hadn’t played a single game this year until today, but in the end everything turned out well.
‘I’ll definitely be keeping the kit’
Question: What went through your head when your effort hit the back of the net?
Hitz: I wanted to celebrate quickly and the get back in goal straight away, but then unfortunately I got mobbed by my team-mates which meant I had to celebrate a bit longer (laughs). I was already thinking about the game getting restarted. I just had to laugh afterwards.
Question: Did you really put it out of your head that quickly?
Hitz: I don’t break out into the biggest of celebrations when we score goals normally. That was why I wanted to get back as quickly as possible so that I could see out the last few minutes of the game.
Question: You could have come up with a really unique celebration.
Hitz: I’ll figure something out for the next time I end up scoring (laughs).
Question: Will your kit take a special place above your mantel?
Hitz: I don’t have a particularly large collection of kits I’ve worn at home, but I’ll definitely be holding onto this one. Perhaps my boots as well.
Maximilian Lotz reporting from the SGL-Arena