Another month came and went in what is shaping up to be a very exciting season for Borussia Dortmund. As we do every month, we honour the best player of the past four weeks with the most prestigious award a true Borusse can think of.
… Gonzalo Castro!
In what might be a surprise to some, the 28-year-old midfielder wins his first-ever #YWPPOTM-award. The voters were split this time, with Castro winning thanks to three first-place votes.
Considering he didn’t get a single nomination from any of our writers in the previous three editions of the #YWPPOTM, this win signifies quite the turnaround for Dortmund’s most expensive summer signing.
Castro had a tough time at the start of his career at the Westfalenstadion, spending a grand total of 30 minutes on the pitch in the first five Bundesliga games with the Schwarzgelben, but he’s really come on in recent weeks. The signs for his massive improvements were there in October, when he scored his first goals for Dortmund and impressed in the big wins against Augsburg and Paderborn.
The last four weeks were another big leap forward for the former Germany international, who started four of his side’s five fixtures in November. He was among the standout performers in the two best games of the month: the thrilling 3-2 over that neighbour club in the ugly blue shirts and the 4-1 against VfB Stuttgart on November 29.
He scored his first league goal against the Swabians and produced one of the finest assists you’ll see all year for Dortmund’s second, a delightful back-heel flick to Aubameyang.
Speaking of Aubameyang, he only just failed to win the race for the #YWPPOTM for the third time on the spin, coming in second this time. Third place went to Marcel Schmelzer, whose status as one of the steadiest performers all season long our writers chose to recognise this time around.
- Lewis Ambrose
First place: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang It’s hard to say he’s getting better and better, but the fact he’s maintaining his level is still incredible. He scored in all of his appearances in November, despite occasional profligacy. Coolness in front of goal was absent in Hamburg but more than evident against S04 and VfB. Long may it continue.
Second place: Gonzalo Castro Between October and November, we can be absolutely sure that Gonzalo Castro has arrived at Dortmund. One of Dortmund’s better players against Schalke, he played a key role in the opening goal and assisted the third. Missed from the starting XI in Hamburg, his performance against VfB was one of the best individual performances of a player all season and capped by a glorious assist for Aubameyang.
Third place: Henrikh Mkhitaryan Henrikh Mkhitaryan started the month with a bang as yet another vintage performance blew away Qabala. A few days on and he performed well again in the Revierderby success, before two disappointing showings for everyone involved against HSV and Krasnodar (he still managed to create 5 chances in Russia). The month did end strongly, with Mkhitaryan starring in the defeat of Stuttgart.
- Stefan Buczko
First place: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang It’s getting boring now, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is my number one choice for this month yet again. He scored in every game he played, bagged one against Schalke and is currently doing what no BVB player has done before with his current goal scoring record. I want everyone to step back and behold of what is currently happening in Dortmund, as there is history in the making.
Second place: Gonzalo Castro My second pick is Gonzalo Castro, because in November the little Castropillar became a beautiful butterfly, bringing joy to our hearts with perfectly weighted passes and cheeky back-heels. It’s excellent for the competition in offensive midfield, as Castro will keep everyone on their toes. He is slowly morphing into starting eleven material. Luxury problems for Tuchel, joy for the fans.
Third place: Marcel Schmelzer My third vote goes to Marcel Schmelzer. He has barely been in the headlines, yet he has been the secret captian of Borussia Dortmund on the pitch, while not being a defensive liability. The left-back deserves some credit for his consistency, I find.
- Constantin Eckner
First place: Gonzalo Castro Having already been written off, Gonzalo Castro has recently shown why Dortmund’s front office once considered him as Ilkay Gündoğan’s successor. His recent performances were characterised by agility, calmness, good vision, and … back-heel passes. When Shinji Kagawa desperately needed a break, it was Castro who stepped up and filled the gap in attacking midfield in a stunning way.
Second place: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang I could easily copy and re-publish my judgement from last month, just updating the stats. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of a kind. Extravagant and sometimes goofy off the pitch, he delivers when he puts on his (also extravagant) football boots. Even though Dortmund’s attack didn’t seem as relentless as it did in previous months, Aubameyang’s shot conversion rate was still tremendous: He scored four goals with 13 attempted shot in the last three Bundesliga matches, according to Squawka.
Third place: Marcel Schmelzer Dortmund’s defence looked shaky during the month of November, didn’t it? Indeed, Mats Hummels and Sokratis made a couple of mistakes. And Matthias Ginter has proven that he actually is not the reincarnation of Dani Alves. Marcel Schmelzer, though, has remained the tower of strength. Hummels admitted in a recent interview that Schmelle is a really important leader in the locker room. His experience and his integration into Tuchel’s tactical system have made him look as solid as a rock.
- Luca Gierl
First place: Gonzalo Castro An unlikely pick on first sight, but the newly signed midfielder is finally on track after a rough start to his Dortmund career. He was arguably the best player in every game he has played this month and therefore gets my vote for player of the month.
Second place: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang The Gabonese striker just keeps on scoring… only the weak outing against Hamburg costs him the first place in my ranking.
Third place: Marcel Schmelzer Behind us lays a month full of defensive lapses and sometimes ludicrous defending. The only defender to come out of this mess without a single costly mistake: Marcel Schmelzer. A deserved third place for the more than reliable left-back.
- Lars Pollmann
First place: Gonzalo Castro Since shameless self-plugging is the foundation on which this site is built, I’ll just quote myself: “Castro has been so good in the last four weeks that it would be more than harsh to take him out of the starting XI. He’s become more than a utility man or Dortmund’s first alternative when someone needs rest. Castro has become a bona fide starter. With clever movement, great ideas and positional versatility, the 28-year-old has been all Dortmund hoped he would be when they signed him and more.”
Second place: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Auba could easily have won my vote for first place again, but his uncharacteristic wastefulness against Hamburg and unavailability against Krasnodar on the Europa League opened the window of opportunity Castro made fantastic use of against Stuttgart. Still, Aubameyang might just be having the best form I’ve ever seen a Dortmund player have, which is saying something. The fact that he’s doing it consistently is the chocolate fondant on the cherry on the icing on the cake.
Third place: Marcel Schmelzer Far be it from me to act like I’m a #footballhipster, but I actually had Schmelle as my third-placed player in August already. Dortmund kept only one clean sheet in November, and that didn’t even come against a real opponent (sorry, Qabala fans), Schmelzer was the only defensive regular to not commit a single stupid mistake. Also, he’s just a terrific bloke I’ll endorse whenever I can.
What do the @Yellowwallpod followers think?
We asked for your opinion on twitter with the hashtag #YWPPOTM. Here are some of the best answers:
— Laurin (@LaurinHDo) December 2, 2015
— Աշոտ (@siamanto) December 2, 2015
Last but not least: