Borussia Dortmund had a busy summer that saw their squad increase despite prominent departures. Although the club is represented in three competitions, there are some players that will find it difficult to grab major playing time. Here are five players that might find themselves on the fringes in Thomas Tuchel’s second year:
If benches were still made of wood, Piszczek’s biggest challenge so far this season would have been avoiding splinters rather than shutting down defenders. The veteran right-back has just a 13-minute cameo to his name across Dortmund’s three competitive games this season, as Tuchel raised eyebrows by first starting Felix Passlack and then keeping him there. With 18-year-old Passlack still a raw prospect, expect Piszczek to get his opportunities – he’ll need to take them.
Few Dortmund fans could not envisage Bender actually leaving the club any time soon, but his status in the squad is a point of contention. Away with Germany for the Olympics, Bender returns knowing his best chance of starting under Tuchel is in central defence, where he featured on 23 occasions compared to 12 in his more traditional defensive midfield role. Marc Bartra and Sokratis are forming a decent partnership there, however, meaning Bender may have to be patient.
In the early season absence of Mario Götze, Kagawa started in all three games for Dortmund. He scored twice in the comfortable DFB-Pokal win over Trier, but neither disappointed nor delighted in the far more testing Bundesliga opener or DFL-Supercup. Mario Götze has been signed for that No.10 position, and Kagawa might soon find himself relegated to the bench having failed to fully grasp his chances.
Ginter’s Dortmund career has never really taken off. There were shoots of green during a promising spell at right-back early last season, but Ginter continually faces the problems many players of his versatility have – a lack of continuity in any given role. Linked with Wolfsburg over the summer, Ginter returns after the Olympics with some intriguing months ahead.
Somewhere in the guide to supporting Borussia Dortmund there lies a rule urging fans not to judge players based on their first seasons – see Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for why patience is a virtue in yellow and black. Bürki is a fine shot-stopper but has an occasional looseness about him that seems to create a little uncertainty at the back. Dortmund fans are content to remain unconvinced for now, but the grace period is fast running out.