Borussia Dortmund had a remarkable summer. They brought in a whopping eight new signings this summer after losing three key players. Since the transfer window is shut now, Dennis Liedschulte took another look at Dortmund’s new arrivals.
Mikel Merino – CA Osasuna – €3.75m
The young Spaniard is – without any doubt – a player with perspective. His club CA Osasuna was promoted – with a little help of Mikel – in May and now plays against Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga. He can play in central midfield and announced during pre-season that he “didn’t come to Dortmund to sit on the bench.” In the friendlies, however, the 20-year-old was often deployed at the heart of defence.
The competition in midfield feels like a really complicated matter. Nuri Sahin, Gonzalo Castro, Julian Weigl, Sebastian Rode and Mikel Merino are fighting for two starting positions. We should not forget that Sven Bender, who currently seems to be considered a defender and Mathias Ginter, who actually is a real defender, can play this role, too. Mikel Merino will have to work very hard to get into the BVB line-up.
Emre Mor – Nordsjaelland – €7m
As I wrote before. Lionel Messi secretly watches youtube-videos of Emre Mor to learn skills- ;-). I remember the first time I saw the 19-year-old when Turkey lost against Croatia at the Euros. Yet, I thought: “Wow! This boy can play.” Emre Mor – just like Merino – will have to prove himself with patience and the will to learn.
He is one of the most talented players in the world. But he is also young and can learn a lot from players like Andre Schürrle, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Mario Götze. Though we will get the chance to enjoy Emre Mor’s skills from time to time, he will not be a key player. But he can become something like a “rabbit out of the hat” that Tuchel will turn to when a moment of surprise is needed.
Marc Bartra – FC Barcelona – €8m
Was a transfer like this possible about five years ago? A young man from FC Barcelona would not have searched for glory in Dortmund. Maybe Munich would have been an option, but after Raul in Gelsenkirchen and the Champions League final, Spanish players know that Germany is not that bad. The 25-year-old transferred – with the help of his agent Carles Puyol – to Dortmund and everyone in and around our club should be proud.
This transfer means a lot. The Black and Yellows get a highly talented player who was formed and educated in Barca’s famous “La Masia”. He will replace Mats Hummels and I’m sure that within a year our former captain will be nothing more than a page in a history book. Bartra has everything a good defender needs. Against FC Bayern, Eintracht Trier and Mainz 05 he already played side by side with “Papa” Sokratis and did a fine job.
Sebastian Rode – FC Bayern München – €12m
There were voices who said that “nothing underlines the number-two status more than buying a player from the bench of the number-one club.” Okay, I’ll admit that I was not happy with this transfer, either. Sebastian Rode – just like Bartra and Götze – did not belong to a regular starting XI in the past. The 25-year-old even seemed to have chosen wrong words as he expressed his wish to “only transfer to a Champions League club”.
A player who barely felt the green grass of the pitch the last two years and now wants to play with the big guys? Don’t get me wrong now – in this case I obviously am an opportunist and he is “now” my favourite transfer. The first interviews in Dortmund did awake my sympathies for this player. The first appearances on the pitch underlined these sympathies and now I even think that Rode has the possibility to become the “face of future BVB”. Why?
He is just the player we needed. Someone like Sebastian Kehl or in the ’90s Matthias Sammer (I loved him as a kid). You know, it’s still very easy to impress the common spectator in Westfalenstadion. One clean tackle, one won duel in central midfield and it’s done. Rode will be a key player this season and is the best transfer we made this summer in my opinion. He just convinced me.
Raphael Guerreiro – FC Lorient – €12m
Transfer experts expressed it after the Euros: Dortmund did a great job with the signing of Raphael Guerreiro. The 22-year-old almost doubled his market value without playing a single minute for The Black and Yellows. Guerreiro seemed to be under the radar of top clubs in Europe and played a good season for FC Lorient with 41 appearances, three goals and two assists. The Euros – Portugal did win this thing – were great and Guerreiro was one of the key players. Although he’s joining the club as a champion he said that he wants to learn from Marcel Schmelzer.
The new BVB captain was present throughout pre-season and currently has the better chances to be in the lineup. Nevertheless Guerreiro played as left-winger or in left midfield for Lorient and probably will have many chances to show his skills in various positions. Schmelzer and Guerreiro will alternate from match to match.
Ousmane Dembele – Stade Rennes – e15m
Just like Mor, Ousmane Dembele is a hell of a talent who treats the ball like it’s made of porcelain. The 19-year-old Frenchman chose to play for the Ruhr Side and seems to be one of the winners of pre-season. He has everything it takes for a big career and flashed glimpses of his skills in the first matches.
Against Mainz he barely could be stopped and was one of the fix-points in Dortmund’s attacking play. Of course he needs to learn a lot. Schmelzer said that he doesn’t want to face Dembele or Mor in training and always is happy to be in the same team as the youngsters. Dembele is young, but currently seems to be the best of all the talents on the team.
Mario Götze – FC Bayern München – €22m
One of the “Returned.” After Sahin and Shinji Kagawa, Mario Götze is the third player who failed playing for a top club and came crawling back to Dortmund. If he ever will find his former skills and become the “Old Mario Götze” – fine, I would be happy.
I was never a fan of Götze. Not during his great time in Dortmund and certainly not while he wore the shirt of Bayern Munich and I surely will not be a fan of him in the future. Nevertheless, he is back.
Many fans are really happy to have him back. But here are some facts. I think it is a high-risk investment of €22 million. Did Sahin or Kagawa find their old form? Shinji shows from time to time that he is a good player. Sahin sadly was often injured the last couple of years and his future at the club seems iffy.
But back to Götze: I’m one of the fans who criticise this transfer – I did so in 2013 as well as this year. However, I think he can improve BVB’s quality.
I know that the pressure on him will not decrease – it will rather be the opposite. Now he really has pressure.
My advice to Mario: Better be better than Messi, if you want to convince even the last fan who didn’t think your transfer was a good idea.
My advice to every fan: Rather stay patient than put pressure on him. He will need time to get into shape.
Andre Schürrle – VfL Wolfsburg – €30m
Andre Schürrle wandered through a tough valley. But it seems that under Thomas Tuchel, his former coach at Mainz, the 25-year-old could be able to find new form again. His first appearances in Black and Yellow were good. Tuchel showed his appreciation and chose him for the lineup against Mainz.
He did a good job, scored one goal against Trier and was, with two assists, one of the main reasons Dortmund beat Mainz 2-1 last Saturday. Schürrle knows that he has to be better than the last couple of years. But he spreads happiness and this leads to a good performances.