Langerak answers call

Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak plays the ball during the German first division Bundesliga match clash with Hamburger SV in Hamburg on Sunday.
Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak plays the ball during the German first division Bundesliga match clash with Hamburger SV in Hamburg on Sunday. Michael Sohn

GOALKEEPER and Bundaberg product Mitchell Langerak enjoyed a rare outing for German champions Borussia Dortmund, filling in during their 5-1 thumping of Hamburg in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

It was the 23-year-old Tieri-born custodian's second appearance for the senior team this season, after also playing in a 2-0 victory over Dynamo Dresden in the German Cup in October.

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The win elevated Dortmund to the top of the table in the German top-flight, alongside Bayern Munich and Schalke on 37 points.

His opportunity came about because of No.1 glovesman Roman Weidenfeller's back pains.

Langerak, who spent three years with Melbourne Victory after graduating completing five years in Bundaberg with John Gorza's Goalkeeping Australia Academy, was signed by Dortmund after playing for Victory in the 2010 A League grand final against Sydney FC.

He played only one match in the Bundesliga last season - but what an occasion it was - making a dream debut as Dortmund produced a season-defining 3-1 win at Bayern Munich in front of just under 70,000 fans.

Langerak has therefore enjoyed victories in all three of his appearances for Dortmund so far.

Gorza, who is now based on the Sunshine Coast, said yesterday his protégé kept in regular contact with him, that he monitors his progress and that the world was seemingly at his feet, or maybe more appropriately for a keeper, in his own hands.

"Mitch contacts me and lets me know whenever he is playing for after-game feedback on matches, which is great," Gorza said.

"He is No. 2 at Dortmund, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world - he's pretty much biding his time because the No. 1 is a seasoned pro who is in his early 30s and also the captain - he's a bit of a club legend.

"He's doing his time, I guess like his apprenticeship, learning and waiting for his opportunity but Mitch also played very well in the German Cup match.

"At this stage, he's playing when the opportunity comes but he's got two seasons left on his contract and next season, providing he's playing at this level, I think he'll challenge for the first team spot.

"But if that's not happening, they may look at loaning him out to another club so he can get more game time - but that's the scenario that happens with a lot of young players who go over there, particularly goalkeepers who mature a bit later.

"On Sunday, he didn't have a lot to do but what he did, he did well and he was very composed. He handled himself well away from home and it's not easy away in a different environment, to come in and perform at the highest level."

Such is his standing in the game, Langerak was invited into a Socceroos training camp in Germany last year but Gorza said it was "pretty much a matter of time" before he stepped up to the top job at his club, and once he does that, his Socceroos debut would follow.

"Mitch is just missing game time but that's going to happen eventually - he's living a dream as a full-time professional and he has been involved in travelling all the way around Europe, including when they played against Arsenal in the Champions League," he said.

"After he broke into the first team, Mitch had really only played half a season for Victory and it's pretty unusual for a European club to come knocking when you have had limited experience. And when Dortmund comes knocking, you don't knock them back.

"I know they are grooming him for the No. 1 position and until he's playing regular first team football, he has no thoughts about the Socceroos.

"But when he is a regular, I think he will be very much in Socceroos thinking.

"Obviously (Mark) Schwarzer is miles in front of anyone else at the moment but Mitch is certainly seen as a future Socceroo."

Topics:  bundaberg soccer

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