Odisseas Vlachodimos (Greek: Οδυσσέας Βλαχοδήμος; born 26 April 1994) is a professional footballer who plays for Portuguese club Benfica and the Greece national team as a goalkeeper.
Born in Stuttgart to Greek parents, he started his career with German Bundesliga side VfB Stuttgart in 2012, with whom he made three senior appearances in the 2015–16 season, before joining Panathinaikos of Superleague Greece, where he played two seasons.
Vlachodimos represented Germany at various youth levels and featured for the nation at UEFA European Under-17 Championship and FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2011. Moreover, he was part of the squad that won the 2017 European Under-21 Championship. In 2018, he switched nationality to represent Greece at senior level.
Vlachodimos is an academy graduate of VfB Stuttgart, having joined the club from VfL Wangen at the age of seven. Having progressed through the clubs' youth ranks, he then made his debut for VfB Stuttgart II on 25 February 2012 in a 1–0 loss to 1. FC Heidenheim in 3. Liga. At the end of the season he signed his first professional contract with the club, penning a deal until June 2015. Two years later, he extended his contract with VfB until June 2017. Having made over 50 appearances for VfB Stuttgart II, Vlachodimos was afforded his Bundesliga debut against Eintracht Frankfurt on 29 August 2015. With back-up 'keeper Mitchell Langerak out injured, Vlachodimos was included in Stuttgart's match day squad and was brought on as a substitute following the sending off of first-choice goalkeeper Przemysław Tytoń. He made three appearances in total for the senior side but by the end of 2015 had fallen out of favour of new club manager, and former VfB Stuttgart II coach, Jürgen Kramny. Vlachodimos voiced his disapproval of the situation in an interview with German new publication Kicker in December and the following month joined Greek Super League side Panathinaikos where he was reunited with his brother, Panagiotis, who had joined the club earlier in the month.
On 26 January 2016, Stuttgart announced that Vlachodimos had completed a transfer to Panathinaikos. As part of the transfer, the full value of which remained undisclosed, it was agreed that Stuttgart would retain a 30% sell-on clause on Vlachodimos. He was handed his debut for the club on 3 April by manager Andrea Stramaccioni, and started in a 3–2 home win against Veria in the league. Having spent the majority of the first half of the following season behind regular 'keeper Luke Steele, Vlachodimos was handed his second start on 27 November and was named man of the match for his performance in a 1–1 draw against Panionios. He started again the following week and kept his first clean sheet for the club in a 1–0 win over PAOK. On 17 May, Vlachodimos was sent off in a play-off match against the same opposition for a spot in the following season's Champions League. PAOK's Amr Warda was dismissed minutes later before a brawl in the second half saw two more players sent off. During the incident, PAOK manager Vladimir Ivić was struck by a beer can thrown from the Panathinaikos crowd and required treatment, ultimately resulting in the match being abandoned.
On 18 May 2018, Vlachodimos signed a five-year contract with Portuguese side S.L. Benfica. After he arrived in Lisbon, fellow teammate Bruno Varela seemed to be the first-choice goalkeeper for the 2018–19 season, but Vlachodimos' overall performance in the pre-season convinced manager Rui Vitória to promote him to the starting spot.
German national youth teams
Vlachodimos represented Germany at various youth levels. His first experience with the national team came on 21 May 2009 when he made his debut for the U15's in a 2–0 win over the United States. He made one more appearance for the U15's against Poland the following month before making his U16 debut in August, starting in a 4–2 win over Switzerland in new manager Steffen Freund's first match in charge at the 2009 U16 Tournament in Liechteinstein. Vlachodimos featured regularly throughout the tournament as Germany claimed the title, beating Austria 6–2 in the final.
Two years later, Vlachodimos helped Germany to a runners-up finish at the 2011 UEFA European Under-17 Championship where they ultimately lost 5–2 to the Netherlands in the final. Soon after the tournament he was awarded the bronze U17 Fritz Walter Medal, awarded to the third best German under-17 player. Later in the year, he was part of the Germany squad which ended third at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup. He made his debut for the U18 side in February 2012 before advancing to the U19 side in August. He then made his U20 debut on 12 October the following year against the Netherlands.
On 15 March 2017, following his emergence as Panathinaikos' first-choice goalkeeper, Vlachodimos was called up by Stefan Kuntz to the U21 side for friendly matches against England and Portugal. He was voted man of the match for his performance during Germany's 1–0 defeat against Portugal, despite the defeat being the nation's first home loss in 32 matches. Vlachodimos' strong performances at club with Panathinaikos saw him selected in Stefan Kuntz's squad for the 2017 UEFA European U21 final tournament in Poland. Germany were ultimately crowned champions, beating Spain 1–0 in the final to claim the title.
On 9 November 2018, four days after FIFA's approval of Vlachodimos' request to play for Greece, he was called up by Angelos Anastasiadis for the matches against Finland and Estonia in the UEFA Nations League.. He debuted for Greece in a 1–0 win over Finland on 15 November that year.
Vlachodimos' older brother, Panagiotis, is also a footballer. They played alongside at the Stuttgart academy and at Panathinaikos.
| || || |