18 years ago he was voted the best goalkeeper of the U17 World Cup in 1997. Subsequently, however, his international career ground to a halt. Only in 2013 did Weidenfeller celebrate his international debut, and in the summer of 2014 he was a World Cup winner.
With his international debut on 19 November 2013 in the 1-0 victory against England in London's Wembley Stadium, Roman Weidenfeller, aged 33 years and 105 days, was the oldest debutant goalkeeper since Toni Turek in history. Just like Turek in 1954, he was then to become a World Cup winner.
It was a well deserved reward, the rounding off of a career (though not always so straightforward), of the most consistent and top-performing Bundesliga goalkeeper since 2009 (181 reviewed league games, kicker-average grade of 2.86). "It made me very proud. I have experienced a great amount of appreciation as a result, "he said after his first senior international. Before and after the World Cup, he underlined this once more with faultless performances that the coach could always rely on. In the 2014/15 season, in which he briefly lost his status as the number one in the team, he actually came to a very respectable grade point average of 2.92.
Ambition and meticulousness were a feature of the skilled office administrator from the early age of 16 years old, when he left his hometown club Sportfreunde Eisbachtal and took the plunge for FC Kaiserslautern. He signed his first professional contract in 1998. Previously, he had been voted best goalkeeper at the A-Junior World Championships in Egypt. After six Bundesliga appearances, he joined BVB in the summer of 2002, where he was initially the number two goalkeeper behind Jens Lehmann.
The young goalkeeper’s performances were so consistent that the then manager Matthias Sammer named him as his number one, after Lehmann‘s transfer to Arsenal in the summer of 2003. According to kicker, Weidenfeller was the best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga in the 2004/2005 season as well as the 2005/2006 season.
"Weidenfeller, who was not without controversy in his early years at BVB, is one of the recognised leaders of his club. He is regarded as a guarantor of security and stability," kicker wrote early on about the shot-stopper, that learnt the fundamentals of football "from his father at home in the countryside." "There," said Weidenfeller, "I learned early on how to securely catch the ball. Later we moved onto several arduous extra shifts. "
A quarter of a century has passed since then. The once impulsive goalkeeper has become calmer. "I think the same applies for me as for a good red wine, which must mature before it can be perfect. With age comes composure, and one takes quite a different approach to things,"he says, "You can also better identidy different playing situations. I still like to train a lot and train hard, and until now I haven‘t used a walking aid to show up to the training ground. It is very important to know what the body needs. For that reason, I often work in the weights room to try and prevent injury."
In the ranking of all BVB player swith the most Bundesliga appearances, he has climbed to second place. And in private, he has found happiness: In the spring of 2015 he married his longtime partner Lisa Rossbach.