Marwin Hitz joined BVB in the summer of 2018 on a free transfer from Augsburg, immediately taking up the retired Roman Weidenfeller's role of back-up goalkeeper. To date, the Switzerland international has made four appearances for the club, and his record is certainly impressive: on each occasion he's played, the Black & Yellows have ended the match victorious. Hitz stood between the sticks for Bundesliga victories over Bayern Munich and Fortuna Düsseldorf, a cup triumph over Union Berlin and a 2-0 Champions League group stage win away to AS Monaco.
Hitz has several years’ worth of Bundesliga experience in which he's proven himself as one of the most dependable goalkeepers in the division. In the 2017/18 season, he saved 74% of the on-target shots that threatened his goal – the third best record in the league that season. The BVB management team clearly had good reason to see him as the perfect back-up option for first-choice keeper Roman Bürki.
Hitz is almost the perfect embodiment of his country: calm, measured and even-handed. Nonetheless, he still has a hint of the unorthodox about him. He rejected the call-up to the Switzerland squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, preferring to arrive promptly for pre-season training at his new club as opposed to sitting on the bench behind Yann Sommer and Roman Bürki in the national team's goalkeeping pecking order. What is more, Hitz belongs to a very exclusive club: he is one of only three goalkeepers (the others being Hens Lehmann and Frank Rost) to have scored a goal in the Bundesliga. The Swiss keeper hit the target for FC Augsburg in their 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen on 21 February 2015. His effort was rewarded with the Goal of the Month award and also helped FCA on their way to finishing in the Europa League qualification spots. Their European adventure the following season ultimately ended at the hands of Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool.
Hitz' journey started in Freidorf bei Arbon, a small town near St. Gallen, where he was first scouted while playing in a local tournament. At nine years of age, he joined FC St. Gallen, where he would remain for 12 years. He worked his way up through the ranks of the youth set-up, made the step up to the U21s – but then wasn't able to break through into the first team. A couple of loan spells beckoned – first at Yverdon-Sport FC and then at FC Winterthur – before he decided to make the big move to Germany, signing for Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg, where he initially played for the reserve team in the Regionalliga North.
His route to the first team was far from simple: Hitz ultimately made his debut against Villareal in a Europa League knock-out tie on 18 February 2010, turning out again a few days later against Schalke in the Bundesliga. But this only came about because first-choice keeper Diego Benaglio was suspended and then injured, while back-up André Lenz was down with an illness. Nonetheless, the 1.93-metres tall Hitz clearly made a decent impression. In what remained of his time at Wolfsburg, he made a total of 13 appearances before departing for Augsburg in 2013, where he soon established himself as the undisputed number one. He ultimately made 141 appearances for the Bavarians, and at his last home game, club captain Daniel Baier was clearly sad to see him go: ''Time to say goodbye to another old hand. His departure is going to hurt.'' Coach Manuel Baum struck a similar note: ''Hitz has achieved great things during his time here in Augsburg. He was always very analytical in the way he went about things and was someone you could have a great conversation about football with.''
The big man from Switzerland is certainly an engaging conversation partner: calm, detailed and to-the-point. When asked what he would have become if it weren't for goalkeeping, Hitz responded: ''I have a qualification in office administration, and that's something I probably would have pursued – but I have no idea what would have eventually come of it.'' Hitz doesn't take himself too seriously, and that undoubtedly endears him to people.
Hitz, who is known for being down-to-earth, dependable and loyal, claims to have never had a role model when he was younger. ''I can't say I ever looked up to one goalkeeper in particular,'' says Hitz, going on to add: ''But I always followed Jens Lehmann's career, probably because he managed to improve with age. I always liked that about him. He didn't let himself get complacent, he always looked to develop himself further and that meant he was able to play at the very highest level right until the end of his career.''
Marwin Hitz is also determined to keep developing further. That's why he was forced to make a difficult decision: to leave Augsburg. The move certainly wasn't easy for the family – wife Patricia and children Matteo and Laurin Rene. Hitz describes feeling slightly nauseous at his last home game for FCA: ''We didn't want for anything in Augsburg. We had two wonderful, healthy children during my time there.'' However, he felt he had to take the plunge if he wanted to make it to the next level: ''Dortmund are a massive club. You just have to smile when you hear a club like that are interested in you.''