Rob-Robert Zieler has made more saves than Manuel Neuer, Bernd Leno and Roman Wiedenfeller this season. Is the ex-Northampton Town loanee one that got away?
Manchester United certainly have a great record when it comes to spotting talent and giving it the opportunity to shine. Over the years plenty of young players have come through the ranks at Old Trafford to become stars for the side.
However as with anything there are always those who got away and Manchester United like many football clubs do have to admit to letting some top talents slip through the net or move away to European and domestic rivals.
The likes of Giussepe Rossi and Gerard Pique are immediate examples while more recently the decision of Paul Pogba to sign for Juventus looks to be biting United in the backside.
The same can be said in Germany as Mame Biram-Diouf has been in sensational form since signing for Hannover and is now rumoured to be Borussia Dortmund’s number one target to replace Robert Lewandowski in the summer.
However it is not this ex United current-Hannover player that I want to bring to your attention but rather one who plays at the opposite end of the pitch.
Ron-Robert Zieler played for United between 2005 and 2010 after arriving from FC Koln as a teenager. However he struggled to cement a place as the first-choice reserve team keeper with the likes of Ben Amos and Tom Heaton keeping him stranded on the bench. In the end he decided to return to his homeland and signed for Hannover in April 2010.
It did not take him long to usurp Florian Fromlowitz as the clubs number one goalkeeper and to then force his way into the national team reckoning; making his first of two appearances for Germany’s national side against Ukraine in November 2011.
This season has been another brilliant one for the 24-year-old as Hannover have battled on a European front as well as maintaining challenge for Europe in the Bundesliga.
As this stat from OptaFranz, our German OptaStat cousin proves Zieler is having another outstanding season in the Bundesliga.
111 - No Bundesliga keeper has made more saves this season than Hannover’s Ron-Robert Zieler (111). Backing.— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) March 11, 2013
He is certainly looking like one that got away for Manchester United.
image: © funky1opti