Stefan Ortega was one of the most important players for Arminia Bielefeld staying in the Bundesliga this season, finishing in 15th place. The keeper registered a total of 11 clean sheets this past season and was one of the highest performing keepers across the league. His efforts didn’t go unnoticed, either, as he’s been listed as the German national team’s fourth goalkeeper and will join up with the squad if anything happens to either Manuel Neuer, Kevin Trapp, or Bernd Leno.
In a recent appearance on Sport1’s podcast (via kicker), Ortega described his reaction to being notified that he was Germany’s fourth option keeper for this summer’s Euros. He also said that he was flattered by the recent links to Bayern Munich, who are likely looking for a keeper during the upcoming transfer window due to the likelihood of Alexander Nübel being loaned out.
Ortega described his shock when he was contacted via phone by Die Mannschaft’s goalkeeping coach, Andy Köpke. He had initially not answered the first phone call, not recognizing the number. He thought it was someone calling about an apartment he and his girlfriend were moving in to. “I said: ‘Honey, I’ll call again, I think someone is calling about the new apartment’. And then: ‘Hello, Andy Köpke here!’ I’m like, ‘What? Who?’ and had to swallow first,” he explained. “That is probably one of the greatest things that can come like this.”
In addition to being Germany’s number four, Ortega has garnered interest from Bayern, who will likely be loaning out Alexander Nübel during the summer transfer window. If and when that happens, Bayern will need another viable backup option for Neuer. Ortega fits the bill perfectly, as long as he would be affordable from Bayern’s perspective. “The mere fact that a club like Bayern Munich might deal with you confirms that you couldn’t have done so much wrong,” Ortega explained. “This is FC Bayern Munich, the best German club, one of the best clubs in the world. It would be stupid to say that I am not listening to that. And what you must not dismiss is that it is financially a different collar size than perhaps in Bielefeld. Plus the international business, in which you can get relatively far, you can take everything with you,” he continued.
Before the Bundesliga season had ended, Ortega was quick to dismiss rumors that he could be leaving the club during the summer transfer window, as to not deter their focus from fighting for survival. Now that the season’s over, however, he might be more open to entertaining offers from Bayern.