Roman Bürki played 34 matches for Freiburg during his debut Bundesliga season. He managed nine cleansheets - and the team was still relegated! Now he plays for BVB. "Borussia Dortmund is a world-class club, and I'm proud to be a part of it," said the Swiss, shortly after his signing.
Bürki is getting used to a new way of life. Eight cameras surround him as he steps into his first press conference. At Borussia, everything's that bit bigger, and tranquil Breisgau is behind him. Still present, however, is Roman Bürki's art of football playing, of goalkeeping. His rise to success has been as rapid as his goalkeeping is fierce. The keeper doesn't just catch balls - he's an enemy interceptor. He mainly saves goals, but also builds up play and cleverly destroys any threats coming from the opposition. Most importantly he is consistent in his execution of these roles. His kicker average of 2.72 is astounding, as is his total of eight times as "Fachmagazin's" player of the match - this is more than any other Bundesliga player!
When his team are in possession, Bürki often stands far from his line; so far that his centre-backs are beside him as opposed to infront of him. "I'm a keeper who likes to have the ball at his feet," says Bürki - and adds confidently: "And I'm a keeper who's not afraid of making a wrong pass." His passes are quick, if a little risky. But that's exactly what makes them dangerous for the opponent. You have to be confident to make that kind of pass, and you have to be independent, both of which are Roman Bürki's strengths. The 24-year-old is soaring through his new life with his eyes wide open. He reflects on experiences, not letting them throw him off course.
"I knew exactly what was in store for me when I signed my contract," said Bürki in Asia shortly following the start of his training with BVB. The goalkeeper knew exactly what he wanted. "I set high standards for myself, I'm very self-critical. My dad's also a harsh critic when we analyse my performance after games. It's good for me. My motivating aim is to play a perfect match."
Dortmund was the logical career move. Bürki views BVB as a traditional club, amongst the top five in Europe. He's been a part of the Swiss national A team since 2013, which has been crucial for his career. "The most important thing is," says the 24-year-old, "that the ball doesn't end up in the goal."
Pascal Zuberbühler, who was also once in goal for the national team, comments that Bürki "is a very active goalkeeper who is good with his feet. He embodies the modern goalie." Regarding his move to Dortmund: "this transfer is like a fairytale for Roman. Freiburg's relegation wasn't easy for him, but he was saved by his good performances. When Dortmund calls you and wants to sign you, you've done something right."
Bürki began playing football in 1999 at his hometown's football club, Münsingen. In 2005, still as a junior, he joined Bern's Young Boys, before progressing on to FC Thun, FC Schaffhausen and Zurich's Grasshopper Club. His move to Freiburg was possibly the most important, as it would lead to him joining BVB just one year later. So far, his career has progressed like clockwork.
"I'm the type that always wants to achieve things, that always pushes through." And so we can expect excxiting things from Bürki, whose contract runs til 2019.