Borussia Dortmund have once again made moves on the transfer market, confirming on Wednesday that they have engaged in a shuffle of full-backs with 1899 Hoffenheim. Jeremy Toljan signed a five-year contract at the Westfalenstadion, while Felix Passlack goes on loan to the South-West German side for two seasons.
Twenty-three years of age, Toljan reportedly cost BVB a transfer fee slightly above €5 million.
Toljan is the third under-21 champion coming to Dortmund in the current transfer window, joining his Germany team-mates Mahmoud Dahoud and Maximilian Philipp. At the tournament in Poland, Toljan impressed scouts and fans with strong displays especially going forward.
The versatile full-back played every second of all five games for Stefan Kuntz’s side and chipped in with three assist, including setting up Mitchell Weiser for the winner in the final against overwhelming favourites Spain.
Comfortable on both sides of the pitch thanks to his two-footedness, Toljan can also play in more advanced positions. Under former head coach Thomas Tuchel, he would have been an ideal wing-back. For now, his most likely spot will be as a back-up to both Marcel Schmelzer and Lukasz Piszczek.
Toljan has never played more than 20 games for Hoffenheim as he’s developed from a depth option into a part-time starter, so expecting him to become a full-time player for Dortmund would not be wise. Thanks to his versatility and technical abilities, however, he should prove a solid addition nonetheless.
Last season, he played in 20 Bundesliga games, scoring and assisting one goal each while only getting booked once. Oddly enough, all three of those happened in the same game against Cologne on Matchday 13.
Having had only one year left on his contract at Hoffenheim — which explains the modest transfer fee despite the current transfer climate — the 23-year-old was supposedly courted by clubs such as Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur and even Bayern Munich. Thus, it’s safe to assume Dortmund have offered him a sizeable role.
Sporting director Michael Zorc said: “Jeremy can play on the right and the left of defence. He played a key role in Germany’s title-winning Under-21 side at the European Championships this summer. He is a player with huge potential to develop.”
Passlack, meanwhile, extended his contract at the Westfalenstadion until 2021 before going on loan for two seasons.
The four-time youth Bundesliga champion struggled to crack the rotation after a solid start to the last season and was underwhelming throughout pre-season under Peter Bosz.
A versatile player in his own right, Passlack will get a good education under Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann, who will likely use the 19-year-old on the wing-back positions in his usual three-at-the-back system.
Having appeared in 21 competitive matches for Dortmund’s senior team at his young age, scoring in the UEFA Champions League against Legia Warsaw last season and all his exploits at the youth level demonstrate “the high sporting quality Passlack already possesses,” according to Zorc. “We wish him as much playing time as possible and believe he’s in good hands with Julian Nagelsmann.”
It’s expected that Dortmund will make no more moves until the transfer window slams shut on Thursday, August 31, 1800 local time.