Jens Lehmann

For the cyclist, see Jens Lehmann (cyclist).
Jens Lehmann

Lehmann in December 2012.
Personal information
Full name Jens Gerhard Lehmann[1]
Date of birth (1969-11-10) 10 November 1969
Place of birth Essen, West Germany
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)[2]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1998 Schalke 04 274 (2)
1998–1999 Milan 5 (0)
1999–2003 Borussia Dortmund 129 (0)
2003–2008 Arsenal 148 (0)
2008–2010 VfB Stuttgart 65 (0)
2011 Arsenal 1 (0)
Total 622 (2)
National team
1989–1990 West Germany U21 6 (0)
1998–2008 Germany 61 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Jens Gerhard Lehmann (pronounced [ˈjɛns ˈleːman];[3] born 10 November 1969) is a retired German footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He was voted UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year for the 1996–97 and 2005–06 seasons, and was selected for three World Cup squads. He was a member of Arsenal's Invincibles, playing every match of their famous unbeaten title winning season. He also holds the UEFA Champions League record for the most consecutive clean sheets, having not conceded a goal in 10 matches whilst at Arsenal.

Club career

FC Schalke 04

Lehmann started his career in the 1988/89 season[4] with Schalke 04, playing for them for nearly a decade. His first years were rocky, notably a game against Bayer Leverkusen in 1993 in which he conceded three goals and was substituted after 45 minutes,[5] causing him to flee the stadium alone by tram rather than taking the team bus,[6] but Lehmann gradually established himself as a strong keeper lauded for his ability to intercept crosses.

He scored his first league goal on 12 March 1995 in a 6–2 victory over 1860 Munich in the 84th minute, scoring Schalke's sixth goal from the penalty spot.[7] His second goal was a last-minute equaliser scored against Borussia Dortmund on 19 December 1997.[8]

Lehmann became Schalke's team hero in their 1997 UEFA Cup Final victory over Internazionale, after playing a strong season and saving an Iván Zamorano penalty in a penalty shootout.


Lehmann left Schalke for Milan in 1998, however his performances didn't match the standards set at Milan. In one game Gabriel Batistuta scored a hat-trick against him, including a goal from a free kick in the box which Lehmann had conceded by handling a back pass.[9] In another game he was substituted after giving away a penalty.[10] Lehmann was dropped after just five matches and believing he wouldn't get another chance at Milan, he left during the winter.

Borussia Dortmund

In early 1999, Lehmann returned to Germany to play for Borussia Dortmund replacing long-time goalkeeper Stefan Klos. Lehmann had a difficult start with the team with several poor performances and a lack in his discipline and reliability. Rumors of an early parting of Lehmann arose, who was viewed critically by both supporters and critics.

However, Borussia Dortmund began the 2001–02 season strongly. Lehmann's overall performance improved and he became more reliable for the team. He contributed significantly to the team's return to success, winning the Bundesliga in 2001–02 and reaching the UEFA-Cup final that same year which the team lost in a match against Dutch club Feyenoord Rotterdam.[11]

Lehmann was a key player in a solid performance by Borussia Dortmund, winning the German League in an impressive finish, eventually triumphing over Bayer 04 Leverkusen which led the league by five points with only three matches left in the season – beating 1. FC Köln, Hamburger SV and Werder Bremen back-to-back, Lehmann and Borussia Dortmund won the Bundesliga in 2002.

During the same season Lehmann became known for his poor disciplinary record. In a match against SC Freiburg, Lehmann kicked opposing attacker Soumaila Coulibaly after they collided in the penalty area. Lehmann was suspended afterwards and currently still holds the record for most red cards for any player of Borussia Dortmund as well as for any goalkeeper in the German Bundesliga.

After a weak season in 2003, which saw Borussia Dortmund slip into mediocrity, increasingly unreliable performances by Lehmann led to his departure from the team. He was replaced by Roman Weidenfeller and Guillaume Warmuz, who had just left Arsenal.


2003–04 season

Lehmann joined Arsenal on 25 July 2003 as a replacement for David Seaman, and played every match as Arsenal went unbeaten for the entire 2003–04 FA Premier League season, becoming the first English club to accomplish this feat in the modern era and only the second to achieve this in the top tier of English football since Preston North End in the 1888–89 season. However, Lehmann's style of play, often coming out of his goal to intercept passes occasionally led to mistakes, such as in the title-winning match at local rivals Tottenham Hotspur when Lehmann pushed Tottenham striker Robbie Keane as the pair waited for a Tottenham corner,[12] and made a mistake that led to the equalising goal in Arsenal's Champions League defeat at home to Chelsea the same season.[13] Arsenal continued unbeaten until 24 October 2004. At the end of his first season at Arsenal, he had already played 54 times earning himself a Premier League winners medal at the end of the season.

2004–05 season

By the middle of the 2004–05 season, Lehmann did not play well, and was no longer automatic first-choice, with Spaniard Manuel Almunia starting in several matches instead. However, Almunia made a series of mistakes himself, thus allowing Lehmann to regain his position. At the end of that season, as speculation again began to mount that he would be replaced over the summer, Lehmann cemented his position in the Arsenal goal with a man-of-the-match performance against Manchester United in the 2005 FA Cup final. He made several important saves and demonstrated great positional sense to keep the score 0–0 after extra time, and then crucially saved Paul Scholes' shot in the penalty shootout, which Arsenal won 5–4.

2005–06 season

Lehmann had an outstanding 2005–06 season with Arsenal, making his 100th Premier League appearance for the club in their game against West Bromwich Albion on 15 April 2006. He was a key factor in his side's first-ever accession to the Champions League final; during their run Arsenal broke the record for the most consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League with ten, breaking the record of seven that Milan had set just one year before. That run formed the bulk of an 853-minute spell without conceding a goal, overtaking the CL record for an individual goalkeeper set by Edwin van der Sar.

Bayern Munich's Hasan Salihamidžić had been the last to net against Lehmann, in the 64th minute of a last 16 first leg match on 22 March 2005; Lehmann kept a clean sheet in the second leg, and then a further seven during Arsenal's run in 2005–06 (Almunia played in the other five matches in the group stages). The final clean sheet was earned in the semi-finals against Villarreal, after Lehmann saved an 89th minute Juan Román Riquelme penalty. Lehmann maintained his shutout run despite an ignominious end to his 2006 UEFA Champions League Final against FC Barcelona; with the score still at 0–0 he was sent off in the 18th minute for a professional foul after bringing down Samuel Eto'o, making him the first player and only goalkeeper to ever be sent off in a Champions League/European Cup final, but it did not stop him from being named the Champions League Goalkeeper of the Year for the 2005–06 season after going 853 minutes without conceding a goal.[14]

Lehmann diving to save a shot during a warm-up.

2006–07 season

His remarkable run was finally ended on 13 September 2006 by Hamburger SV's Boubacar Sanogo, who scored a consolation goal in the 89th minute of Arsenal's first group stage match of the 2006–07 Champions League season.

Lehmann's contract at Arsenal was due to expire in summer 2007 and during the 2006–07 season there was much speculation he would leave the club on a Bosman transfer. However, it was reported on 26 April 2007 that he had signed a year's extension on his contract, tying him to the club until 2008.[15]

2007–08 season

In the first league game of the 2007–08 season, Lehmann made a serious error after just 52 seconds, allowing David Healy to score for Fulham. However, Lehmann's blushes were spared late in the game as Arsenal won 2–1. In his second league match against Blackburn Rovers he fumbled a David Dunn shot to allow Blackburn to equalise, in a game that finished 1–1. On 24 August, the BBC reported that he returned to Germany to treat an Achilles tendon injury which he picked up during international duty against England, meaning Manuel Almunia took his place for Arsenal's third match.

Lehmann subsequently had to wait nearly four months to make another competitive appearance for Arsenal, which came in their final Champions League group match against Steaua Bucharest. Nearly one month later, he played only his fifth competitive game of the season for Arsenal, against Burnley in the third round of the FA Cup; meanwhile third-choice goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański was selected for the League Cup games. Lehmann expressed frustration at being number two to Manuel Almunia[16] fearing it could cost him the number one jersey in the German national team for the European Championship 2008. However, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger described Lehmann's attitude as “super-professional”.[17]

Lehmann playing for Arsenal in 2007.

On 26 January 2008, Lehmann appeared in Arsenal's second FA Cup game of the season, keeping his second successive clean sheet as Arsenal beat Newcastle United 3–0. Manager Arsène Wenger later promised Lehmann that, if he stayed at Arsenal, he would play every game in the FA Cup.[18] On 29 January 2008, Lehmann suggested that he will stick with Arsenal until his contract expires at the end of the season. Lehmann gave his reasons as his relationship with the fans, players, family situations and his chance to still be able to win things at the club; believing he "wouldn’t have had this chance somewhere else."[19] On 2 February 2008, following an injury to Almunia, Lehmann returned in goal for Arsenal in the Premiership for an away fixture against Manchester City, more than five months after his last league appearance; Arsenal won the match 3–1. Due to Almunia catching flu straight after the injury, Lehmann kept his place in goal for the following three matches in February, including the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 against Milan, but also the 4–0 loss to arch rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup.

After another injury to Almunia in early April 2008, Lehmann was back in goal for the away game against Manchester United on 13 April 2008. Arsenal lost that game 2–1, virtually ending their Premier League title hopes for the season, their third consecutive season without a major trophy. There was speculation that would be his last game for Arsenal, but on 19 April Lehmann played in the home game against Reading, which Arsenal won 2–0. The following week, Łukasz Fabiański was given his Premier League debut against Derby County and Almunia returned to the bench for the game. However, Lehmann made another appearance and was brought on for Fabiański in the last 20 minutes of the game against Everton on 4 May 2008, Arsenal's final home game of the season. He was given a standing ovation after the match as he bowed and clapped to the fans. Later that day, Wenger confirmed that it was Lehmann's farewell appearance.[20]

VfB Stuttgart

In early June 2008, it was announced that Lehmann had signed a one-year contract for VfB Stuttgart.[21] He joined the team's pre-season training on 24 July 2008,[22] and made his debut for the club on 30 July 2008 in a friendly match against former team Arsenal. His competitive debut for the club came on 10 August 2008 in the first round of the DFB-Pokal, a 5–0 away victory over FC Hansa Lüneburg, and his Bundesliga debut one week later in Stuttgart's 3–1 away victory at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

On 3 April 2009 Lehmann extended his contract at VfB Stuttgart until the summer of 2010[23] and announced in August 2009 that he would retire on 30 June 2010.[24]

Return to Arsenal

2010–11 season

On 14 March 2011, German tabloid Bild reported that Lehmann was in talks to come out of retirement, due to an injury crisis at Arsenal leaving them with only one fit senior keeper, Manuel Almunia.[25] Lehmann was also scheduled to spend six weeks working on his coaching badges at his old club.[26] Due to the injury of Arsenal goalkeepers Wojciech Szczęsny, Łukasz Fabiański and Vito Mannone, on 17 March 2011 Lehmann signed for Arsenal on a rolling contract until the end of the season.[27] Lehmann was a substitute in Arsenal's match against West Bromwich Albion on 19 March 2011, but despite newspaper reports that he might replace goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, due to the latter's poor performances,[28] Arsène Wenger admitted that Lehmann was not match fit.[29] Lehmann made his first appearance in Arsenal's reserves on 29 March 2011 against Wigan as Arsenal lost 2–1.[30]

On 10 April 2011, Lehmann started for the first team in an away game against Blackpool. He was forced to start the game when Almunia was injured in the warm up.[31] This was his 200th appearance for Arsenal as they won 3–1. Lehmann became the oldest player to play for Arsenal in the Premier League but not the oldest to play for the Gunners in all competitions, a record held by Jock Rutherford. Lehmann's contract with Arsenal expired at the end of the season, and then he decided to retire once again.

International career

Lehmann made his debut for the national team against Oman in February 1998 and earned 61 caps for his country, 32 of which were friendlies.[32]

He had a well-publicised rivalry with former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn whose presence long prevented Lehmann from becoming the number one goalkeeper of the German national team. He was in the squad for the 2002 World Cup which finished as runners-up, but he didn't play any single match in the competition as Kahn was still at best performances in club and as number one of the German national team. On 7 April 2006, however, German national coach Jürgen Klinsmann announced that Lehmann would be Germany's first-choice goalkeeper for the upcoming World Cup.

Lehmann conceded two goals in Germany's opening match of the World Cup, both scored by Costa Rica's Paulo Wanchope although Germany won the match 4–2. Lehmann played strongly in the next three games, conceding no goals and allowing Germany to sweep their group undefeated and beat Sweden convincingly in the Round of 16.

The highlight of Lehmann's international career came in the quarterfinal match (30 June 2006, Olympiastadion, Berlin) against Argentina. The game remained tied 1–1 after 90 minutes and extra time. The game came down to penalty kicks and Lehmann carried his team through, picking the right direction for all spot kicks, making saves from Argentinians Roberto Ayala and Esteban Cambiasso and almost saving a third. Meanwhile, the Germans made all four of the necessary spot kicks to win the penalty shoot-out 4–2. Lehmann's prowess in the shootout was aided by notes given to him before the kicks – an idea from Germany's chief scout, Swiss-born Urs Siegenthaler – with Lehmann keeping the paper in his right sock. Before the last shot from Cambiasso, Lehmann looked at the paper for a long time even though Cambiasso's name was not even on it. The story about the paper features in the film Deutschland. Ein Sommermärchen. Lehmann was considered a hero by the German public after these saves, and he received praise even from long-time rival and backup keeper Oliver Kahn.[33]

Germany's opponent in the semifinals was Italy. The Italians had the better chances to score but Lehmann made several spectacular saves, including one in extra time where he dived out of goal to intercept an Italian player who had broken loose from the defence, punching the ball clear with his fist and temporarily knocking out the Italian in the process. He allowed two goals within a minute of each other with only a few seconds remaining in overtime, which put Italy into the World Cup final.[34] The retiring Oliver Kahn was given the honour of starting in the third place play-off match, an offer made by Lehmann himself. Kahn was made captain for that game due to the injury to Michael Ballack. Germany defeated Portugal 3–1 for the third place (bronze) medals.

In August 2006, Lehmann revealed that during the World Cup he was suffering with a foot injury that he claims was a result of wearing different boots. The German Football Association ordered their players to wear only those manufactured by principal sponsor Adidas as opposed to Lehmann's sponsor Nike. This has now been overturned thanks to Lehmann and several other players protesting about the decision and the players are now free to wear boots made by other companies.

In August 2006, Lehmann suggested that he may retire from league and international football after playing for Germany in Euro 2008.[35] However, he subsequently stated in January 2007 that he had not made any decision on retirement.

Lehmann set a national team record of not conceding a goal for 681 minutes in a friendly against Switzerland on 26 March 2008. In Euro 2008, Lehmann started every match as Germany reached the final. They lost 1–0 to Spain; a lack of communication between Lehmann and Philipp Lahm allowed Spain's Fernando Torres to net the only goal in the match.

On 8 August 2008, Lehmann announced his retirement from international football. He made his decision following a two-hour talk with the German national team's coach Joachim Löw and goalkeeping coach Andreas Köpke, stating that he was not able to give them any guarantee that he will continue to play football following the end of his one-year contract with VfB Stuttgart in June 2009. He has since retired and subsequently worked towards his full FIFA coaching license at Arsenal.[36][37]

Personal life

Jens Lehmann and his elder brother grew up in Essen. After graduating from high school with A-levels in 1988, he studied Economics at the University of Münster between 1992 and 1998 while continuing his football career.

In 1999, he married Conny, an elementary school teacher. Lehmann later adopted Conny's son with footballer Knut Reinhardt, Lasse. The pair also have two children Mats (born 2000) and Lieselotta (born 2006).[38]


He is board member of the youth football foundation Stiftung Jugendfußball, founded 2000 upon the initiative of Jürgen Klinsmann. Lehmann also acts as ambassador of the foundation Power-Child Campus South Africa[39] that supports children affected by HIV and well as foundations of Bert Trautmann, Christoph Metzelder and former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson.

He participated in the Soccer Aid football match on 6 June 2010 for the Rest of the World team in aid of UNICEF.

Acting career

Lehmann made his film acting debut with the German/South African production Themba.[40] He plays Big John Jacobs, a football coach and talent scout, who discovers Themba, a young and ambitious youth, who is faced with poverty, AIDS and violence, but eventually makes his way on to the South African national team.[41] The movie is based on a novel by Lutz van Dijk and premiered at the Berlinale 2010.[42]


Club statistics


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Germany League DFB-Pokal DFB Ligapokal Europe Total
1988–89Schalke2. Bundesliga13000130
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
1998–99MilanSerie A501060
Germany League DFB-Pokal DFB Ligapokal Europe Total
1998–99Borussia DortmundBundesliga130130
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2003–04ArsenalPremier League3805010100540
Germany League DFB-Pokal DFB Ligapokal Europe Total
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2010–11ArsenalPremier League1000000010
Country Germany 4682130208005632
Italy 5010000060
England 1480130303602000
Total 62122705011607692

National team statistics

Germany national team


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  40. "Themba". Retrieved 10 June 2010.
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  43. Jens Lehmann at
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