Ron-Thorben Hoffmann reveals deadline day drama behind Bayern Munich move - and why he chose Sunderland
Ron-Thorben Hoffmann says the possibility to ‘march’ to the Premier League persuaded the goalkeeper to swap Bayern Munich for Wearside.
The 22-year-old signed a season-long loan deal on deadline day, with the Black Cats holding an option to make that deal permanent next summer.
The goalkeeper made his debut in a 2-1 win against Accrington Stanley in League One but initially looked shaky.
Since then, though, the German has grown in confidence and made a stunning save away to Gillingham, which helped cement the three points for Lee Johnson’s side.
And Hoffmann has revealed he was drawn to the club by the size of the support and talked about the dramatic scenes that surrounded his deadline day move to the Stadium of Light.
Writing in his column for German publication Kicker, he said: “31 August 2021 in fast forward (for me, every minute felt like an eternity!):
“I have been sitting mentally and literally on packed suitcases for two days. I love Bayern, but I want to play, and I want to play regularly and at a high level… unfortunately, that’s not really possible in this constellation at FCB.
“So my advisor scouts the market, holds lots of talks and we draw up a transfer battle plan. The reality, however, can only be strategically planned to a limited extent, there are simply too many players and interests involved.
"Hope and new opportunities alternate with burst deals. But one thing is becoming more and more concrete. On the island. At Sunderland. At the traditional club AFC. I’m really keen on that.
"Five times English champions, a crowd average of 33,000, big ambitions to march through from the third division into the Premier League. And a rivalry with Newcastle that makes the 1860 vs FCB match [look like] a petting zoo.
“The alarm clock rings at 4am.
“Things are looking good, even if there are still a few details to be sorted out. But they have to be sorted out.
"And then the question: when do we fly over to do the medical check and sign the contract in time for the deadline, when there are only two planes leaving for the next airport in Newcastle on the day?
“Then everything seems clear: plane booked, get up at 4am, departure from Frankfurt at 6am.
"Everything works out - more or less. I land in Newcastle, but somehow my luggage doesn’t come with me. And it feels like the post-Brexit immigration formalities take half a transfer period. And all the Corona tests ... but sure, it has to be done.
“The only thing is that the deal is still not quite done. Hopefully, the trip wasn’t in vain after all.
“Don’t think about it. Keep going. I pass the check without any problems. Then it’s off to the stadium for a first interview and photoshoot. Only the contract is still not signed.
"We sit in a room with my advisor, and virtually we keep in touch with lawyers and managers. We’re trained in remoteness, because of Corona.
"And then at 11:12pm: hallelujah, it’s done and I sign my contract with Sunderland AFC!”