That Roman Weidenfeller's final game in Borussia Dortmund colours before retirement will be as his club try to secure a UEFA Champions League place at Hoffenheim is in some ways fitting: if they succeed, a new generation can next season attempt to heal some of the pain two-time Bundesliga winner Weidenfeller still feels from the 2013 European Cup final defeat to Bayern Munich at Wembley, even if the great goalkeeper himself won't be involved. caught up with Weidenfeller, 37, prior to the Hoffenheim encounter; here's what he had to say about his career, THAT defeat at Wembley and why Dortmund's fans are the best in the world ...

... his decision to retire:

"I had thoughts prior to the season of this possibly being my last, and those thoughts continued, so around Christmas I knew I wanted to retire. I've had a long career and have been a part of this amazing club for a long time, but it's time to call it a day and make way for the next generation. Personally, I want to focus more on my family life and am looking forward to that."

... his first steps as a goalkeeper:

"I started in goal back in the day with Sportfreunde Eisbachtal, but that was sometimes too boring so I became a striker! I thought if it was too boring then it wasn't the job for me. I always wanted a challenge and wanted to score goals when I first started. Back then, you'd often get five Deutschmark for scoring the winner; because I was a goalkeeper I couldn't do that, and so my wallet was always empty!"

Weidenfeller waves farewell to the Borussia Dortmund fans following Matchday 33's 2-1 home defeat to Mainz. © gettyimages / Sascha Stuermann

... starting out at Kaiserslautern:

"I started as a youth player at Kaiserslautern. It was a great time there, really enriching. I was quite sheltered growing up in a small town in Westerwald, and then moved alone as a 15-year-old to Kaiserslautern, which was a really big step for me at the time. I was still finding my feet, so it was a really big challenge for me. Of course there were a few tears on the first night alone in my apartment, and I couldn't promise my parents I'd stay, but I stuck to the plan thanks to the support of my parents and friends, who always visited and allowed me to concentrate on football."

... joining Borussia Dortmund:

"It was a jump into the deep end and a huge challenge. Without wanting to disrespect Kaiserslautern, I went from the relative peace there to Dortmund, which was a global club always creating headlines and where winning trophies was expected. I was signed as back-up for Jens [Lehmann], and that was tough because people would ask why Roman Weidenfeller wanted to go to Dortmund, but I had an immediate feeling and wanted the big challenge. I came here and in the very first season we were playing in the Champions League, which made a huge impression on me: we played in Madrid, in Milan."

Weidenfeller joined Dortmund in 2002; 16 years later, in his last home game before retirement, the fans honoured him with this banner. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Lukas Schulze

... winning the Bundesliga:

"I wasn't actually the captain [of the 2010/11 Bundesliga-winning team]; Sebastian Kehl was, but he was often injured that season. That meant that I was the one to lift the trophy, an unbelievable honour, especially after so many barren years. To be the first one to hold the trophy aloft was fantastic - there isn't a better feeling – but even then I'd promised Kehl that I'd make sure he'd be able to lift it himself as soon as possible. A year later, we won the double and were both able to."

... the 2013 Champions League final:

"I've had plenty of highlights ... but there were also defeats, like against Bayern at Wembley in the Champions League final. That was painful and still hurts today because I knew at the time those chances don't come around too often. I've told team-mates who are much younger – and perhaps more talented than me –that you often need a bit of luck, in the draw and on the day, if you want to have the chance of playing in a Champions League final."

Robben beats Weidenfeller at Wembley to break Dortmund hearts. © gettyimages

... becoming Germany's oldest goakeeping debutant at the age of 33:

"It was a real show of appreciation. It was always a major aim of mine – as a youngster you dream of pulling on your national team's shirt.  To win on debut at Wembley against England with Per Mertesacker heading in the only goal was just a brilliant experience. I thanked Joachim Löw straight after the game; at the time I didn't think my Germany career would continue."

... winning the World Cup with Germany:

"We had a great time [at Wembley], but I was really surprised then to get the call again. After that, it became clearer with each passing week that I had a chance of going to the World Cup, and of course the World Cup in Brazil was a real highlight - the togetherness within the squad and the team around us. We were a single unit fighting for one goal, which was to bring the trophy back to Germany."

Watch: The highlights of Weidenfeller's final home game in BVB colours - a 2-1 defeat to Mainz

... the Borussia Dortmund fans:

"The fans and the stadium are probably the best in Germany, so for me there was never a question of leaving the club even at times when things weren't going so well personally, like when I was dropped. I always knew what I had with the club and the fans, and how important football here is."

... his career:

"I'm hugely thankful. It's been a major privilege to have this job, to feel such emotion and receive the appreciation from the people. It's a dream job. Turning my hobby into a job is what I always wanted, and I've been able to do that for such a long time. There's nothing better than that. It's just been great."

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