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Rensing: Bring on Borussia

Keeper inspired by 80,000 Dortmund crowd

Michael Rensing does not appreciate being compared with his predecessor Oliver Kahn. “He was a different goalkeeper with a different style,” the FCB number one recently pointed out, “Oliver shaped Bayern’s destiny for a decade, but his era is over and mine’s just beginning.“

Rensing, the new first-choice keeper at the club after years as Kahn’s understudy, “always got along well“ with his predecessor, 15 years his senior, thanks to a “good, collegial relationship.“ However, finally stepping up to the top job was “a relief. The last couple of years haven’t been easy for me. I’m overjoyed I’ve finally achieved my personal target.“

Outfield skills

After five seasons in Kahn’s shadow, Rensing reported back on 30 June as number one keeper, although that was not the only change for the former Germany U-21 shot-stopper under new boss Jürgen Klinsmann, as the keepers are far more closely involved in squad training than under Ottmar Hitzfeld. “We do a great deal of joint work on fitness,” Rensing reported.

Rensing and squad goalkeepers Hans-Jörg Butt and Thomas Kraft also frequently appear as outfield players in skills exercises. “The coach wants us much more closely involved in passing routines, so I become more comfortable on the ball and get better at using both feet,” Rensing explained.

Klinsmann’s philosophy calls for the keepers to be an inextricable part of the outfield play. “The coach wants me to join in more, play an active role and embody modern goalkeeping practice, very much like I was a sweeper or libero,” Rensing continued. The experienced Butt regards the development as positive. “By joining in more, the keeper can defuse potentially dangerous situations,” the 34-year-old commented, “if I intercept a passing move, I may not have to pull off a diving save a little later.“

Rensing yet to lose in the Bundesliga

Rensing’s two matches as number one so far have given him little opportunity to shine. Bayern laboured to a 4-3 Cup victory over minnows Rot-Weiss Erfurt, and had to make do with a 2-2 draw at home to Hamburg in the league. The 24-year-old, who has not finished on the losing side in his 24 Bundesliga outings to date, could do nothing to prevent any of the five goals conceded so far.

Bayern travel to Dortmund on Saturday, where an 80,000 crowd will transform Signul Iduna Park into a seething hotbed of emotion. “Dortmund is always a cauldron. It’ll be fiercely contested and a real battle,” Rensing agreed, “but that’s exactly the way I like it. It gives me a real push. It’ll be my third start in Dortmund, and I love playing there.“ That’s a statement which could easily have come from the lips of a certain Oliver Kahn.