The Netherlands international has passed a medical and put pen to paper on a four-year contract. And has become Brentford’s first arrival of the summer.
The 2022/23 season was a special one for the 29-year-old shot-stopper. He kept 13 clean sheets in 34 Bundesliga matches – the highest tally in the division – as Freiburg finished fifth.
He made his international debut for the Netherlands on 26 March 2022 in a 4-2 friendly win over Denmark, where he lined up against Brentford’s Christian Norgaard and Mathias Jensen. The keeper is now unbeaten in his four caps for his country.
“We’re very happy to have signed Mark,” said head coach Thomas Frank.
“He’s a player with a lot of quality who will strengthen our goalkeeper group. He has big experience and joins us after two great seasons with Freiburg, who have just had a top season in the Bundesliga, finishing fifth and qualifying for the Europa League,” he added.
“He was a big part of the team there and now he’s coming to us and will hopefully make the group better and the team better. He’s a very good shot-stopper and comfortable with the ball at his feet. His distribution is very impressive,” he said.
First-team goalkeeper coach Manu Sotelo added, “Mark has been performing at a high level in the Bundesliga, being one of the best keepers there.”
“He will fit very well with our style of play. His strengths on the pitch are his quality on the ball, his agility as a shot-stopper, and his space awareness as a sweeper keeper and in defending crosses,” he added.
“His personality and leadership qualities are perfect for our culture. We are delighted to have him with us,” he said.
Mark Flekken Career
Flekken began his career in the Netherlands, first with RKVV WDZ, before a switch to Roda’s Academy.
In 2009, he moved to Germany to join Alemannia Aachen, before signing his first professional contract with the club in 2011.
Flekken made his professional debut in January 2013, before being signed by second-tier side Greuther Furth in 2014. He then transferred to Duisburg in 2016.
He won the 3. Liga in his first season with the club, keeping 15 clean sheets in 37 league appearances. The goalkeeper even got on the scoresheet in a 1-1 draw with VfL Osnabruck, having come up for a set-piece in stoppage time.
Flekken helped Duisburg to a seventh-place finish in the German second tier the following season, which led to a move to Bundesliga side Freiburg.
He was the club’s second-choice keeper during his first two seasons at the club but, after no.1 Alexander Schwolow signed for Hertha Berlin ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, he looked set to become a regular starter between the sticks.
However, prior to the first game of the new season, Flekken suffered an elbow injury while warming up for a DFB-Pokal match against SV Waldhof Mannheim, which sidelined him for almost the entire term. He played the final three games of the campaign, as Freiburg finished 10th.
Flekken has stayed injury-free since then and has played all but two league games over the last two seasons, helping Freiburg to sixth and fifth-place finishes in the Bundesliga.