An sunny days, Janis Blaswich likes to ride his bike. Then he drives through Leipzig with his family, in the meantime he knows his way around quite well. Not like in the beginning, when he regularly had to turn on the navigation device to get to training.
A lot has happened since the summer, especially in terms of sport. Blaswich not only has a better knowledge of the city, he now also represents Leipzig as the first goalkeeper for the leading football company RB. He rose to number one within a few seconds, as is sometimes the case in this sport. In the game against Celtic Glasgow (3-1), Peter Gulacsi got stuck in the grass when he tried to get a pass to his team-mate. The knee was twisted, the pictures look creepy. Bad things were to be expected, bad things were confirmed. Cruciate ligament tear and several months break for Gulacsi.
Suddenly Janis Blaswich is in goal and also the focus. He hadn’t expected that when he moved from Heracles Almelo to Leipzig in June. The decision was a conscious one, but not everyone could understand it.
Matured in the Netherlands
At the age of 31, he traded his regular place and captaincy at Heracles for a supporting role in Leipzig. In the Netherlands he had matured into a leading figure during his four years there. But even Blaswich’s saves couldn’t save Almelo from relegation and then there was this desire to try it again in the Bundesliga.
As a young man, Blaswich, who grew up near Mönchengladbach, was trained at Borussia. However, he was never allowed to play for the professional team. He was awarded. First to Dresden, then to Rostock. He gained match practice at both stations and had good experiences in the East before moving to the Netherlands.
It was clear from the start that he would be number two in Leipzig behind Hungary’s national goalkeeper and captain Gulacsi. Nevertheless, he accepted the offer. “For me, RB isn’t just any club in the Bundesliga, it’s a top club. When I got the chance to be a part of it, even as a second goalkeeper, I didn’t think twice about it,” Blaswich told the Leipziger Volkszeitung.
“Great faith in him”
He didn’t have to wait long for his first assignment. Injury problems plagued Gulacsi at the start of the season, Blaswich replaced him in three competitive games. The goalkeeper now has three more games in the past six days alone. After the Bundesliga is before the Champions League and vice versa. In Glasgow, Leipzig is fighting against Celtic for a place in the round of 16.
After the 3-1 a week ago, the chances are better again. Leipzig are in contention with Celtic and Donetsk for second place behind defending champions Real Madrid. Blaswich should help to bring in the necessary points. “We trust Janis. He exudes calm, clarity, catches balls, does it very well with the ball. He makes clear decisions. That’s why we have a lot of trust in him,” says coach Marco Rose.
Blaswich’s former place on the bench is now taken by Orjan Nyland. Leipzig signed the contractless Norwegian at the end of last week. Nyland comes as the clear number two with only a limited chance of playing time. Which doesn’t have to mean anything. Janis Blaswich knows this all too well.