GRADING THE TRANSFER WINDOW OF BORUSSIA DORTMUND: BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE CONTINUES UNDER NEW COACH
Borussia Dortmund have had a long and successful history of developing young talent into world-class stars. Names such as Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowski all starred for the club and have been followed by the likes of Erling Braut Haaland and Gio Reyna.The transfer activity of Dortmund this season suggests more of the same as the players brought in are all 23 or younger.
Best Young Players 👶
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) April 25, 2021
Regarding their outgoings, the main departure has of course been that of a fleet-footed attacker while keeping hold of Haaland was another objective accomplished. FootTheBall analyses how the German club performed overall and what can be expected of their new players.
GREGOR KOBEL (STUTTGART)
DONYELL MALEN (PSV)
MARIN PONGRACIC (WOLFSBURG) LOAN
ABDOULAYE KAMARA (PSG) FREE
SOUMAILA COULIBALY (PSG U19) FREE
The two headline signings of Dortmund, Kobel and Malen, are the result of dogged scouting and planning for the future. The Swiss goalkeeper joined from Stuttgart for €15m after just one season with his former club in the Bundesliga. Kobel made 33 starts and kept five clean sheets, along with saving seven penalties.
🎙Michael Zorc on Gregor Kobel:
"We got him for performances like the one against Hoffenheim. He has a good charisma, which is an important factor. His aggressiveness is particularly good for our game."
— BVB Newsblog (@bvbnewsblog) September 3, 2021
He has already begun the season as the first-choice goalkeeper over the more experienced Roman Burki and Marwin Hitz, having a brilliant outing in his last match.
Malen, on the other hand, has been earmarked as the successor to Jadon Sancho after his blistering form in 2020-21 with PSV. The 22-year-old striker scored 24 goals and had eight assists across all competitions which made him one of the hottest prospects in Europe.
🇳🇱 Donyell Malen's Eredivisie record for PSV last season (league rank):
⚽ Goals – 19 (🥈)
🥅 Goals from open play – 17 (🥇)
🅰️ Assists from open play – 8 (🥉)
🏹 Shots – 113 (🥈)
🎯 Shots on target – 60 (🥇)
⭐ WS MotM – 7 (🥉)
🌡️ WS Rating – 7.40 pic.twitter.com/NpWZjAFtfH
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 23, 2021
Though he is yet to get off the mark this season, once he starts firing on all cylinders, that €30m transfer fee will be chump change over the upcoming seasons.
The rest of the new faces are likely to remain on the fringes of the senior squad for at least this year. Kamara has joined up with Dortmund’s reserve team after declining a professional contract with PSG. Coulibaly came from the youth side of PSG and it remains to be seen whether he makes his first-team bow this term.
Borussia Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg have agreed to a one-year loan deal that will see Marin Pongračić in Dortmund for the 21/22 season ✍️ pic.twitter.com/fRjHk1Uw3x
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) August 31, 2021
Meanwhile, Pongragic joins on loan shoring up the defence from fellow rivals Wolfsburg for whom he made 10 appearances in the league last season.
JADON SANCHO (MANCHESTER UNITED)
THOMAS DELANEY (SEVILLA)
MARCEL SCHMELZER FREE
LUKASZ PISZCZEK (LKS GOCZALKOWICE-ZDROJ) FREE
JEREMY TOLJAN (SASSUOLO) LOAN
SERGIO GOMEZ (RSC ANDERLECHT)
LEONARDO BALERDI (MARSEILLE)
Jadon Sancho has contributed to 30+ goals in each of his last 3 seasons with Dortmund:
• 13 goals
• 20 assists
• 20 goals
• 20 assists
• 14 goals
• 18 assists
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) May 8, 2021
Sancho’s transfer saga with United finally came to an end this summer as the Red Devils forked out €85m. His time in Germany was filled with goals, assists and a whole lot of brilliant trickery on the pitch. No doubt Dortmund would have loved to keep him for longer but as a club, they just could not refuse this mammoth fee.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) June 29, 2020
Two of the most seasoned veteran full-backs also left on free transfers with Piszczek going back to his homeland after 11 years at the club. A further departure in the same department came with Toljan’s permanent move to Serie A. Marseille continued their squad revamp under Jorge Sampaoli as they snapped up promising centre-back Balerdi for €8m from the Yellow Black.
🎙 Thomas Delaney:
"I am incredibly proud to have played for BVB. This club is one of the biggest in the world and I will always miss the atmosphere in the Signal Iduna Park, which is a very special place." pic.twitter.com/NEXunDKW5S
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) August 25, 2021
Sergio Gomez left for Belgium after spending the last two seasons in Spain, having failed to break into the Dortmund team. However, one of their key exits came towards the end of the window. Their midfield jack-of-all-trades player Thomas Delaney, who made more than 100 appearances for the club over the past three years joined Sevilla for €6m.
Compared to last season’s team that finished 3rd in the Bundesliga, it is hard to gauge right now how the current team will do. For one thing, they are without two, quite possibly three key pieces.
Sancho and Delaney are two of the foremost in the world in their respective positions while Piszczek’s leadership is also gone. They have made moves to steady the ship, most notably Malen being brought in for his goal scoring nous.
We're not crying, you're crying 🥺
Dortmund's players giving an emotional Lukasz Piszczek the send off he deserves 💛 pic.twitter.com/xYXXaJDokF
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 15, 2021
In midfield, the meteoric rise of Jude Bellingham along with more regular game time for Gio Reyna. Nevertheless, the absence of a Delaney-like enforcer might prove to be an issue given how Axel Witsel has often been asked to play in defence. Now that is where Dortmund may have missed a trick.
“JUDE JUDE JUDE JUDE JUDE JUDE JUDE JUDE JUDE JUDE BELLINGHAM” 🗣🗣🗣 pic.twitter.com/cTIyG9xPGe
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) August 31, 2021
The failure to sign a central defender of proven capabilities as highlighted by us was one of their pressing needs. However, with no such player coming in, it falls into the hands of the current crop who have looked fragile at best to begin the season. Rose’s team have conceded eight goals in five matches over all competitions, five of them being in the league.
This is too much https://t.co/NDCDMt6MIh
— Bob Williams (@WilliamsBob75) August 27, 2021
Finally, one great story of success for the club has been making sure Haaland stays for this season. There was some serious interest from clubs abroad, notably PSG and Chelsea, but were scared off by Dortmund’s firm insistence on not selling. Though the Norweigian’s departure is sure to come next season as his release clause comes into force, it will not hurt all that much if they manage to get their hands on some silverware.
— Erling Haaland (@ErlingHaaland) August 27, 2021
Indeed, Haaland has started the season in scorching form with six goals and two assists already. With a healthy Marco Reus as well as Reyna/Malen coming to the fore, there are good chances of them outperforming last season.