World Cup Goalkeepers – Jens Lehmann

Born in Essen, Germany in 1969, Jens Lehmann’s soccer career kicked off in 1989 with FC Schalke where he played for almost 10 years before moving on to AC Milan in 1998.

Said to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Lehmann created a name for himself while with Schalke. However, after signing up with Milan, his performance took a dip and he was dropped from the squad after just five matches. He made a decision to move back to Germany and signed up with Borussia Dortmund where he went on to win the German League title in 2002. Lehmann then went on to sign up with the Gunners in July 2003 and was seen as Arsene Wenger’s answer to replace the ageing David Seaman.

During his first season with Arsenal, Lehmann played in every match and the Gunners went on to clinch the FA Premier League title without dropping a match. Lehmann, who many say has also undergone stringent mental training to reach his potential often comes out of his goal to intercept passes. He was man of the match during his club’s performance against Manchester United in the 2005 FA Cup Final after he made numerous brilliant saves to keep the score at 0-0 after extra time.

Lehmann then went on to save a fierce shot from Paul Scholes during the penalty shoot-out, handing a 5-4 victory to Arsenal.

However, one doubt remained on the mind of fans as they pondered his temperament following several «incidents» during the games. The German goalkeeper first donned his gloves for the national team in February 1998 in a match against Oman and to date has earned more than 25 caps for his country. He has however been in a constant tussle for a place between the posts with Oliver Kahn, from Bayern Munich. As many will be comparing him with Kahn, Lehmann will require a lot of mental strength to deal with the pressure. So, mental training should become an important part of any footballer’s training program today.

However, luck was on his side and according to a recent statement from the German Football Federation, Lehmann has won the race to keep goal for his country. The issue of who would don the Number 1 jersey has dominated the German football scene and the pressure was intense on national coach Jurgen Klinsmann to make a decision.

Public polls had recently favoured Lehmann, whom many said was in fine and consistent form.

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