Hoffenheim goalkeeper Tim Wiese trying to score against Eintracht Frankfurt last season
At Torsten Frings' recent testimonial in Bremen, the second-biggest cheer was reserved for Tim Wiese. The Werder fans want the flamboyant Hoffenheim outcast back.
There certainly have been highlights in Wiese's career. For a man who clearly loves his hair, highlights were probably not the only thing the former Werder goalkeeper asked his habitual Bremen barber for.
The haircutting burghers of Sinsheim have had the joy of styling Wiese's locks (can I just add a disclaimer? I assure you, despite my own declining quiff, this is not a hair envy thing) for the last season, and with Tim spending most of his time as a highly-paid member of Hoffenheim's second-string training group, he has no doubt had time to lavish some of his €3.5 million salary on further grooming his already immaculately-kept appearance.
Despite the man-love of the Bremen fans for their former 'keeper, I have never been convinced by Wiese, as you might have guessed. I feel vindicated, though, as it is a viewpoint shared by Joachim Loew who - having had his goalkeeper selection policy publicly lambasted by Wiese - decided he would give the then-Bremen man a go before coming to the conclusion that Manuel Neuer was better and was less likely to upstage him in the fashion stakes.
It isn't for his sense of style and perma-tan that the Bremen fans want him back though, singing his praises to the detriment of Lothar Matthaeus, Ailton, and Michaels Ballack and Schumacher, who all turned up for Frings' big night.
"I heard the roar. It's huge that the fans were singing for me. I have always been feted here and know what I have in the Werder fans," said Wiese after seeing his former team-mate into retirement.
It is easy to see why, after three poor seasons, Bremen fans are hankering for the days when Wiese was in the side that finished four times in the top three and won the 2008/09 German Cup. What's more, his departure in summer 2012 ("I need a new sporting challenge," he had claimed) coincided with Bremen shipping a remarkable 66 goals and battling against the drop to finish 14th.
And yet Sebastian Mielitz's record was not much worse than Wiese's when Bremen finished just a place higher with five fewer goals conceded in 2010/11. Though the Bremen fans are asking for Wiese back, what they really want and need are the wonderful attacking players that were the main cause of the club's successes as of 2005. In the three successive podium finishes between 2005 and 2008, Bremen scored more times than the champions each season, while they were second-top scorers in finishing third in 2009/10, just a solitary strike behind title-takers Bayern Munich.
Of course, it is not easy being a goalkeeper - or defender, eh Per Mertesacker? - in a team hell-bent on scoring one more goal than their opponent. There were also the three penalty shoot-out saves in the German Cup semi-final against Hamburg, but that about sums Wiese up. Flashy, eye-catching, what many would call 'a great shot-stopper', meaning 'spectacular, but not the man I want wearing the gloves'.
A saver of potential great goals, if you like, rather than a great potential goal saver. Even his Wikipedia page - oh yes, all the most reliable sources - has a picture of him flying through the air but for some reason facing his own goal.
Ironically, the only team to concede more in 2012/13 was Hoffenheim, even if Wiese cannot be blamed for that having scraped together just a handful of games before failing to establish himself under Marco Kurz and Markus Gisdol after initially being named captain by Markus Babbel last season.
Though there is talk of talks between the disgruntled parties, Wiese will join the likes of Tobias Weis, Matthieu Delpierre and Edson Braafheid in watching Sunday's encounter with Borussia Moenchengladbach from the lavish confines of the Rhein-Neckar Arena's VIP section.
"I have no interest in cancelling my contract," Wiese told BILD recently. Hardly surprising given Germany's favourite tabloid estimates he would earn €2 million less should he answer the Bremen fans' call and return to the Weserstadion.
The hairdressers, and bank managers, of Sinsheim will be thankful.
By Ian Holyman