What now, René Adler?

René Adler never reached that ball. A new contract at Leverkusen seems just as out of reach at the moment.

The former national team’s first choice keeper is slowly running out of options.

The world of football is fast paced environment where things change quickly, one of many clichés being used time and time again. However, there is always a certain element of truth to clichés, and the case of René Alder proves just that. Adler was set to be the number one goalkeeper for Germany at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa until an injury forced him to pull out of the World Cup 18 months ago.  Since, Adler’s prospects have rapidly veined.

First the Leipzig born keeper lost his number one spot in the German national team to Manuel Neuer, who then went on to to sign a multi million euro deal with Bayern Munich. Adler’s dream of playing for Manchester United is as far off as it has ever been after the club decided to buy two young and promising goalkeepers in David De Gea and Anders Lindegaard.

It is all about the timing

Adler seems to be a victim of circumstance given how things have gone for him for the last 18 months. After losing his spot in the national team Adler failed to realize that extending his contract at Leverkusen would’ve been a smart move. Rudi Völler said that the club was willing to give the Leipzig born lad a one year extension, however, Adler’s demands were so high, or outlandish as Völler put it, that Leverkusen in the end lost interest.

Additionally Adler was injured in a pre-season friendly against Red Bull Salzburg, side lining him for the entire first half of the season. Leverkusen reacted by loaning 19-year-old Bernd Leno from VfB Stuttgart. Leno has had an excellent start to the season, rendering Adler’s return to the starting line-up unlikely.

Where to go from here?

Adler’s contract is running out at the end of the season, and with most European top teams being unlikely to be interested in signing him, the question is where Adler might end up in the end. Schalke and Hamburg have been linked with the East-German, but both teams temporary goaltending troubles have been resolved. Lars Unnerstall has been doing exceptional for the Royal Blues, while Jaroslav Drobny has upped his game turning himself into a fan favorite in Hamburg.

Hamburg’s sporting director Frank Arnesen told Sky on Thursday that he won’t buy or sell any players during the winter break, stating that the club was happy with Drobny’s performance. Even though Arnesen told the TV-channel that ”the summer will be an entirely different situation”, one might wonder if Hamburg wants to replace Drobny with an injury prone big wage earner.

It stands to be seen what will happen to René Adler, but at the current moment it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to find a top German club to pay his wages next season. But, as so often, clichés have some truth to them. And maybe these next six months might change things in Adler’s favor.

Feel free to leave a comment.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 32-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.


  1. Hamburg. Drobny won’t last forever in this form. Good distribution from the back and a proven class GK will at least calm the HSV defenders.

  2. I thought he was going to end up at Manchester United, when it became evident that Neuer was going to Bayern Munich. But he seemed to just fall off the map for most teams. His injuries and his wage demands have left him stuck.

    The smart thing for him is going to be to go to a team where he can start, and sign a 1 or 2 year deal for low money. See if he can get back on form, and get a more reasonable long-term deal after he proves that he can stay injury free for a year or two and show top performances. If he thinks he’s going to get a big long-term deal now, I think he’s going to find that there isn’t much of a market for him. He’s got to show that he’s got his form back, and that he can stay healthy, so a cheap short-term deal would probably be his best chance at the moment. He just has to be careful which team he picks, as the last thing he wants to do is end up the second-string keeper and people forget about him entirely.

  3. He could have signed for 3-4 years easily at the beginning-mid 2011. His demands however were just too high.

    Once injured this season Bayer apparently offered 1 year, they were unsure if Leno would turn out great and later the question was Stuttgart willingness to sell.

    Being a person of pride, he rejected that too (seems like an insult), determined to play the free agent card.

    Wish him all the best, he is an excellent lad who probably has chosen a wrong agent. He will go to Hamburg.

    Lot of strong personalities are leaving us: first Vidal and now Ballack and Adler

  4. I remember him against Russia in 2010, brilliant performance. I honestly thought then he would be our starting goalkeeper then. I would, naturally, suggest a move to Stuttgart, but Ulreich has been most excellent of late, so that’s a bit of a gamble on all counts.

    As an afterthought, site statistics tell me this is the 2,000th comment on the Bundesliga Fanatic. Congratulations, everyone.

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