Matthew Crichton: Sunderland manager Lee Johnson described Hoffmann as “elite on the ball” - is he a modern style sweeper-keeper?
Phillip Quinn: Hoffmann is pretty good with his feet, and since Manuel Neuer joined Bayern years ago, the club has strived to teach that sweeper keeper style to the younger teams as well. Hoffmann, of course, isn’t as proficient as Neuer, but he’ll be playing at least a version of that role if allowed.
MC: Our two current goalkeepers have been criticised for their presence within their box - at six feet four, is Hoffmann a dominant figure who commands his area?
PQ: Hoffmann is a big boy who isn’t afraid to let his presence be known in his box. I think the fact that he already has a pretty good grasp of English is a good sign that it won’t take him long to adjust to any type of language barrier.
MC: What would you say are his biggest strengths and weaknesses between the goalposts?
PQ: Hoffmann’s height helps him to command his box on corners, and he’s a good shot stopper. My concern with him has always been his occasional propensity for giving up rebounds. If he can continue to develop and work on his ability to push the ball wide instead of out front, he’ll be a huge transfer and potentially a massive steal for Sunderland.
MC: The 22-year-old has made over 50 appearances for Bayern Munich’s reserve side - do you think now was the right time for him to leave considering it is near impossible to displace Manuel Neuer?
PQ: It’s been expected for some time that he’s going to be leaving anytime now. It’s not even so much that Neuer is staying, but that the club moved to bring in Alexander Nübel which meant both Hoffmann’s and Christian Früchtl’s futures were thrown into limbo.
My assumption is that both young keepers are going to be leaving Munich permanently sooner rather than later.
MC: Hoffmann was on the bench during Bayern’s Champions League triumph in 2020, and was pictured lifting the trophy. How much do you think it would have helped him to train and be around one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Neuer?
PQ: I think it’s huge for any young player to be around the world’s best in training. Bayern have regularly brought up young players to train with the first team, especially with players being out due to international breaks and whatnot. Hoffmann is very highly thought of at Bayern by everyone.
MC: Having already won a German lower league with Bayern’s ressie side, do you think the pressure and expectation to win at Sunderland will not phase Hoffmann?
PQ: There’s high pressure at Bayern to win at all levels all the time. Hoffmann got thrust into the fire at the end of the 3.Liga season when Bayern II won the title for the first time ever, and he performed admirably. I think he’s well-prepped for the pressure that’s going to come in a Sunderland promotion chase.
MC: What do you think attracted the young goalkeeper to leave Germany to join Sunderland?
PQ: I think, for a lot of young players today that were children when the Premier League was at it’s peak in the late 2000s, England will always be a destiny. I think there’s also the possibility of earning promotion into the Championship which is highly appealing to players.
MC: Do you think having ex-Bayern teammate Leon Dajaku will help him to settle into the area and the team faster?
PQ: While both have remarkably good English, I think having two young players from not just the same non-English country but the same club is going to be a big boost to the two players adjusting to a new country.
MC: Lastly, do you think Ron-Thorben Hoffmann will be a success at Sunderland?
PQ: I think he’s got the ability to be the club’s number one for years to come. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching Hoffmann over the last few years and am proud of his growth. I think I speak for nearly all Bayern fans in saying that I hope he’s a rousing success.