It’s the toughest season for strikers to find their way into the Dortmund team Jürgen Klopp said on Thursday. Both Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos moped about their situations in interviews within the last weeks and understandably though, although it’s not the best way to mope around in the press.
Together the two strikers were bought to replace Robert Lewandowski, currently BVB have a grumpy 30 million euro investment sitting on the bench or even on the stands, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is Jürgen Klopp’s first choice for the striker position.
In the Bundesliga Immobile has scored three goals in 834 minutes (278′ per goal); Ramos only 2 in 664 minutes (332′ per goal). From an economical point of view, 5 goals after 22 match days look pretty grim for a 30 million investment. Especially the 10 million euros for Ramos look baffling, considering he doesn’t fit Dortmund’s philosophy of buying young prospects, but rather to be an instant hit with Bundesliga experience to provide goals while Immobile is finding his feet. Since this endeavor has spectacularly failed, it begs the question what will happen with Adrian Ramos now? Is there still a need for him, with Aubameyang running the show up top and Ciro Immobile the favored long-term solution?
It’s certainly not easy for strikers to find their stride in Dortmund. Lucas Barrios needed until match day 8 of his first season when he joined Dortmund until he started firing on all cylinders, Robert Lewandowski even more than a whole season to go from ‘Bratwurst’ to a striker fulfilling his potential. Funnily enough Lewandowski’s “breakthrough” came on match day 8 of the 2011/2012 season, where he banged in a hattrick against FC Augsburg. The polish striker was granted the first eight games in his favoured position, because Barrios was out with a muscle injury at that time. It let’s one wonder what would have happened, if Barrios stayed fit.
But back to the present. Ramos hadn’t had the chance to start more than three games in a row, Ciro Immobile at least made it up to four — with a winter break between the third and fourth — but this was evidently not enough for either striker to really settle in at Borussia Dortmund. Considering there was an ever changing midfield in behind them, caused by the many injuries, it is no surprise neither was able to build any chemistry with his teammates. In recent games both the Italian and the Colombian have looked harshly disconnected with the rest of the team — especially comparing their performances with the one of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Now attentive readers will point to the fact, that Aubameyang hasn’t seen too many matches in the role of the lone striker, but at least the Gabonese had a whole season to acclimatize to the team and was already one of the few consistent performance through out this tough season.
So what to make of this dilemma? Was it the right choice to invest in both Immobile and Ramos ahead of the season, or should Dortmund have bundled their investment and gone for one high-profile striker instead? — say Mario Mandzukic.
Fact is, Jürgen Klopp won’t be able to keep all three strikers happy at the same time and keep them in form also. A lot is influenced by outside circumstances, like injuries, but Klopp cannot plan with injuries, so he will need to make his bet with either Adrian Ramos or Ciro Immobile if he wants to have two strikers gelling with the rest of team in the foreseeable future. Ideally this works out with all three, but it’s rather unlikely in reality.
Looking at the potential and age, the choice will undoubtedly be with Ciro Immobile, who is three years younger than Ramos, but not the youngest anymore either. For now either Ramos and Immobile will have to hope for rotation to get playing time. The cup game against Dynamo Dresden should be such an opportunity.
Question of the week: Were Ramos and Immobile the right choice for Dortmund and will find their stride eventually or a total bust by Mr. Zorc?