Scout Report – Felix Wiedwald
Leeds United have signed Werder Bremen goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald for an undisclosed fee. According to the BBC, the goalkeeper has signed on a three-year deal with Leeds.
The 27-year Wiedwald made 25 appearances for Bremen in the Bundesliga last season, keeping five clean sheets, as the club finished 8th in the standings. Despite veteran custodian Rob Green doing a stellar job over the course of the 2016-17 season for the Whites, new manager Thomas Christiansen was keen on strengthening his options in goal and sees Wiedwald as the right man for the job.
With so little known about him in England, let’s take a closer look at who exactly Felix Wiedwald is and what value will he be able to add to the Leeds’ squad.
Born in Thedinghausen, West Germany, on 15 March 1990, Wiedwald joined the academy of TSV Achim as a 7-year old in 1997. Two years into his development at Achim, he moved to the Werder Bremen academy in 1999. He broke into the Bremen U-17 team in 2005 at the age of 15 only and continued his rise through the youth ranks. After two years with the U-17s and two more years with the U-19s, Wiedwald was promoted to the Werder Bremen II side (reserves) in 2009.
He made his debut for the reserve team in September 2009 in the German third tier and went on to become the first-choice. Having made 15 appearances over the course of the season, he broke into the senior team, but could only make it as far as the bench in the 2010-11 season and accumulated 24 more games for the B team.
In the summer of 2011, Wiedwald moved on to join second-tier club MSV Duisburg in search of first-team football. He spent two years with the club, usurping the No.1 spot from Florian Fromlowitz and made 49 appearances before Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt came calling in the summer of 2013. Initially, he had to play second fiddle to first-choice shot-stopper Kevin Trapp.
On December 12, 2013, Wiedwald made his UEFA Europa League debut for Frankfurt and made his Bundesliga bow two months later in February 2014. However, he could not establish himself as the No.1 and after having made just 13 appearances in two years, he returned to Werder Bremen in 2015.
In his first season back at his childhood club, he made 39 appearances, with four clean sheets across all competitions. In the recently concluded campaign, he had to compete with Jaroslav Drobny for the No.1 spot, and he did establish himself as the main man and finished with 26 appearances.
Wiedwald has represented the Germany U20’s just once, back in November 2009.
Style of Play
A tall and a well-built goalkeeper, Wiedwald stands at 6ft 3in and can be a fairly imposing presence in and around the six-yard box. A success rate of 99% on his 74 attempted claims gives an idea about how dominant he can be in the area.
His tally of 73 saves was the sixth best in the Bundesliga last season. He averaged a total 2.92 saves per game – fifth best in the German top division. But he does tend to get caught on shots from close range. A sweeper-keeper of sorts, he is unafraid to come off the line and has the ability to start attacks from deep with his long passes.
What Does The Future Hold?
With Rob Green a firm fan favourite and a proven veteran in English football, it will prove to be a hard proposition to displace him as the first-choice between the sticks, but Wiedwald has what it takes to do just that. Expect him to become the long-term No.1 for Leeds sooner or later.