An Interview with Roman Bürki, Star of the Bundesliga

The Borussia Dortmund keeper details his off-the-pitch interests

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Roman Bürki is a Swiss goalkeeper for German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund. Bürki has had a strong career, playing for the likes of BSC Young Boys, SC Freiburg and Borussia Dortmund. 

In the last few years, Bürki has been successful on and off the pitch, most notably winning the DFB-Pokal and became the first goalkeeper to get five clean sheets in the first five games Bundesliga games of the season. He also got called to play in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, being an ambassador of a nonprofit charity and even kicking it with the Carolina Panthers.

Below is our exclusive Q&A with the Swiss star, where he touches on his off-the-field plans, some advice for young players and which teammate he'd most like to go into business with.

ONE37pm: For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about your background and your path to Dortmund.

Bürki: I was born and raised in Switzerland. It’s my home and that’s where everything started. I am from a small town close to the capital, Bern. I played for the first division teams Young Boys Bern, FC Thun and Grasshopper Zürich. Grasshopper Zürich was my last club in Switzerland before I transferred to Germany, SC Freiburg. My biggest football accomplishment in Switzerland was winning the Swiss Cup with Grasshopper Zürich in 2013. I really enjoyed playing for SC Freiburg. It is a beautiful city, close to the Swiss border and it made the transition from living in Switzerland to Germany very easy on and off the field. 

Why did you leave Switzerland? 

Bürki: We got relegated that season. It’s tough to get relegated the first season you play for a new club, but I was named goalkeeper of the season, which lead to a lot of interest of many big clubs mainly in Germany and England.

When my agent told me that Borussia Dortmund was interested in me as their number one goalkeeper, I didn’t think twice. It was a dream come true. When I arrived in Dortmund in summer 2015, I was overwhelmed by the facilities, the staff, the stadium and by far the most impressive and unique thing about this club are the fans. Nobody in Europe has fans like we do. Until this day I get goosebumps when I walk out of the tunnel for the warm-up and that will never change. I will never forget the festivities in Dortmund after we won the Deutscher-Pokal in 2017. Nobody can understand what that meant to us and the city of Dortmund to bring that cup home to our city and our fans.

What businesses are you currently involved with? 

Bürki: I am an ambassador for a nonprofit charity organization that helps children. And for the past five years I’ve invested in real estate.

Do you think about entering into the business world and becoming an entrepreneur?  

Bürki: Yes, I regularly read books and listen to podcasts to grow as a person and expand my horizon on a personal and entrepreneurial level. 

While playing, is it frowned upon to have your focus on other businesses? 

Bürki: I believe your main focus should be football. As long as you’re giving 100% in every practice, try to become a better player every day and prove it regularly in the games there is no problem with being involved in other businesses. 

On the other hand it’s no secret that when you don’t show up in games, for a certain time, people will blame it on things that aren’t football related that you spend your time with. It is the same in any job, your focus has to be on your main job as long as your business on the side doesn’t affect your job performance nobody will say anything. 

What is one piece of advice you would tell 20-year-old Roman? 

Bürki: Take advice, take chances and do more things that make you happy. Also: Listen to your parents. 

What is the backstory to your pregame ritual?

Bürki: It helps me to relax and it makes me feel better. It takes away a lot of the pressure before my games. 

What activities do you do that would be a surprise to your fans? 

Bürki: They know me pretty well, but in my free time I like to read, which might be surprising to some people. 

If you could start a business with a former teammate, who would it be?

Bürki: Mats Hummels—he is a smart guy that has a lot of interests in different industries. I am convinced he will be successful in no matter what he does after his active career as a player. 

At what age should players start to think about their life after football? 

Bürki: I think we all think about it right from the start we start making money and become professional players. It is so intense, and we know it doesn’t last forever. It is scary but that’s what makes it so special and unique as well. 

What is one thing you would change in football? 

Bürki: VAR.

Who are some of your favorite entrepreneurs?

Bürki: Gary Vee, Dan Bilzerian and David Tepper. I had the pleasure to meet David in summer when I went to spend a day with the Carolina Panthers. I was impressed with how humble, generous and respectful he treats every single person around him. He invited me to the Panthers game in London and I hope I’ll find time to go and talk to him again.

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