Bayern Munich’s first two goalkeeper positions on the roster seem to be set with Manuel Neuer and Sven Ulreich. The third option, however, might be up for grabs between Christian Früchtl and Ron-Thorben Hoffmann.
Hoffmann, who is on his second tour of the United States for the International Champions Cup, sat down for an interview with kicker and acknowledged that he is currently in an ongoing competition with Früchtl for the right to be considered Bayern’s goalkeeper of the future, while also learning from Neuer and Ulreich:
There’s a competitive battle between Christian and me. We can still learn a lot from Manu and Ulle.
Hoffmann specifically pointed to Neuer as a player who he can learn a lot from on and off the field.
Manu is a great person, but above all an absolutely awesome goalkeeper. You can learn so much from him, both as a player and as a person. Even at practice he has no intention of letting the ball go in the goal — that’s what makes him special. He praises me if I’ve saved a ball well or found a good footballing solution to a situation, but he also says what you can do better. He is a very good person to talk with. I wouldn’t have thought that when I arrived here. I thought he’d be very individual and self-centered, but that’s something you can’t say at all.
Hoffmann, who started playing soccer as a four-year-old defender at Hansa Rostock, eventually moved to Berlin with his parents where he played for Hertha BSC and switched to goalkeeper. At 14, Hoffmann moved to RB Leipzig before finally transferring to Bayern Munich at the age of 16 in 2015.
Hoffmann credits his move to Leipzig and having to live in a boarding school as a tough experience that ultimately paid off:
The step from home to the boarding school in Leipzig was extremely difficult, but it was worth it.
Aside of being on the pitch for Bayern’s clincher last season, Hoffmann said that Bayern II’s promotion tie with Wolfsburg II was among the best moments of his young career:
The promotion games were the biggest highlight — against such a backdrop with that pressure. It helps immensely. You feed on such games and memories your whole life.
As for what the future may hold for Hoffmann, the goalkeeper will not rule out a move abroad if things do not work out with Bayern Munich. Flatly, Hoffman’s primary goal is to be a starter and would be open to moves to Spain, England, or France, as he has familiarity with each language. Whatever happens with Hoffmann, he will never forget the experience of being on the pitch for the post-game celebration after Bayern clinched the Bundesliga title last season.
I was right there [when Bayern clinched] the championship and also when legends like [Franck] Ribery and [Arjen] Robben, who I used to cheer for in front of the TV or in the stadium, were bidden farewell. That was a great highlight.