It is not an easy thing for any man to admit, but Gerhard Tremmel eventually concedes that his wife knows what she is talking about. The German goalkeeper's two clean sheets against Chelsea helped to secure Swansea's place in Sunday's Capital One Cup final against Bradford, but it is Sarah, a trainee lawyer, who deserves the credit for getting her husband a move to south Wales in the first place.
Sitting in the centenary suite at the Liberty Stadium ahead of the biggest game of his career, Tremmel talks about "destiny" as he tells the story behind his free transfer to Swansea with a mixture of laughter and disbelief. Keen to come to the Premier League after more than a decade playing in Germany followed by a season with Red Bull Salzburg, Tremmel discovered, courtesy of his eagle-eyed wife, that the Premier League was coming to him.
"I was looking through newspapers and doing some research to see what was going on," the 34-year-old says. "Apart from that, my agent in Germany tried to get in touch with a lot of people [in Britain], but it's not very easy. Then my wife, who was on the internet every day, figured out that Swansea needed a goalkeeper. 'What about Swansea?' she said. 'They're here, in Austria, at the training camp.' So I looked at the map and it was just 40 minutes away from my apartment. I called my agent and he said: 'Just go there.' I said: 'What, and say: "I'm Gerhard, what do you think?" They need some input that I'm coming!'"
That door opened through a stroke of good fortune, after it emerged that Andrew Sparkes, who had just moved from New York Red Bulls to Salzburg as the academy goalkeeper coach, was born in Swansea and had previously worked for the club. "He knew the Swansea goalkeeping coach, Adrian Tucker, and he sent me a text saying I had to be there the next day," Tremmel says. "I had over 100 games in the Bundesliga, it's not like I don't know how football works, but it was such a weird situation. And then I went there and I thought: 'This is not right, how can a Premier League club have hospitality like this?' They were in a sport school."
After two training sessions, Brendan Rodgers, the Swansea manager at the time, invited Tremmel back to Wales with the rest of the team, which was another surreal experience. "He said: 'Come to the Novotel in Salzburg.' I went to the bus, it was quite early when we left, and every player was drunk because they had been out the previous night. They were hungover. I was sober, thinking: 'What is going on here?' In Germany if we have a training camp, it is so straight, no alcohol."
Tremmel, who is an instantly likeable character, laughs at the memory. He admits he knew nothing about Swansea as a city at this stage – "I did some research on the internet, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Dylan Thomas" – but he quickly realised he could be living there for a while after Rodgers watched him play for 45 minutes in a pre-season friendly against Celtic and said that he wanted to sign him, albeit with a caveat. "Brendan told me there was another goalkeeper coming. He said I was going to have a battle for No1."
That player was Michel Vorm, who enjoyed an exceptional first season in the Premier League. Tremmel had no complaints with Vorm holding on to his place, but it was still hard to stomach. "He would get all the praise, everyone was talking about him, and you would feel like you wanted to bang your head on the table. I didn't see any prospect at all. At the end of the season you sit at the dinner where they award the trophies for best player and he got all five. I was thinking: 'What's going on here?' I thought it was the end, that I didn't have any chance at all. But if you see my record, I never choose the easy way."
Tremmel got a lease of life when Michael Laudrup was appointed in the summer, although the real breakthrough came at the end of October when Vorm picked up a groin injury at Manchester City. Was part of him pleased Vorm got injured? "No doubt about that," he says. "That's what you are waiting for. And I think that's human, isn't it? I was never a goalkeeper who was satisfied sitting on the bench. When the injury came, I thought: 'Here you go, this is the chance.'"
He grasped it with both hands. Swansea, with Tremmel in the side, went on a seven-match unbeaten run that included memorable away wins at Liverpool in the League Cup and Newcastle and Arsenal in the Premier League. Across Tremmel's 12 Premier League appearances this season, he has the best saves-to-shots ratio in the division and is second only to Manuel Neuer, the Bayern Munich goalkeeper, in Europe. "I was just happy to have this spell to show what I'm capable of," he says.
Although Vorm reclaimed his place once fit, Tremmel has been the first-choice goalkeeper in the League Cup throughout and, after preventing Chelsea from scoring in 180 minutes in the semi-final, it was never in doubt he would start against Bradford. "It's the biggest game of my career. I've never before got to a final or got a trophy," Tremmel says. "It could be the icing on the cake. But I'm not at the end now. My dream is to play regularly."
Tremmel pauses for a long time when it is pointed out to him that none of this would have been possible without the assistance of his wife, who is based in Berlin and is flying over for the final. "Yeah, you could say that," he says, with a wry smile. "The thing is, sometimes I should listen to her more."