Before the season started, there were growing insecurities over Borussia Dortmund. The enormously grown Ruhr-based club managed to sign a player, who was deemed as Europe’s best under-19 talent – that is Ousmane Dembele. The expectations were high enough, as a transfer to one of the world’s biggest clubs would suggest. At the same time, there were also doubts, growing large, over the seemingly widening wealth of talents in the Black and Yellows camp.
After all, the club had managed to sign not only Dembele but a range of hugely talented young players too. Raphael Guerreiro, Emre Mor were just a few of them. Additionally, the likes Christian Pulisic, Felix Passlack were also set to perceive their quantum leap in the main teamsheet. Both of them possessed a stupendous pedigree, considering their young age. While Felix Passlack was awarded the Fritz-Walter Golden Medal, Christian Pulisic was turning out to be an American superstar and for many, the face of American football for years to come.
It was exciting yet critical times for a player, who made his Rennes debut just seven months prior to his big money move to Dortmund. Even though he was signed for a decent 15 million euros per German newspaper agency SportBILD, the significance of the move was surely big enough.
Dembele started Dortmund’s first Bundesliga match of the season against Mainz at the Signal Iduna Park. Starting as the right winger, Dembele ended up attempting an astonishing 16 dribbles against the 05-ers. The performance gave the fans a clear idea of the young ambitious Frenchman. Shortly afterwards, he made his debut in the French national team in a friendly against Italy. He came on as a sub for Antoine Griezmann around the hour mark.
Normally a winger by trade, Dembele loves to cut inside and breach the opposition defence using his dribbling skills, quick feet and sharp movements. The 19-year-old attempts 7.1 dribbles per game, more than anyone in the league. Dembele also has a lovely balance which lets him take on defenders at ease even at full pace.
He scored his first Bundesliga goal for Dortmund in a 5:1 rout against VfL Wolfsburg. The winger has scored four goals in the league so far but all of them came against sides, who are placed on the wrong side of the table. His most recent goal came against FC Augsburg in their final match of 2016.
Dembele’s chance creation is more important to Thomas Tuchel than his goal scoring abilities. He has created 25 chances for Die Schwarzgelben this term, most by any Dortmund player. His seven assists jointly top the league along with Emil Forsberg. However, he is often criticised for his passing and selfishness in the final third. Although he has racked up seven assists this season, fans still think, he gets selfish in the attacking third and often gets over-reliant on his individual skills.
The effort and the commitment of Ousmane Dembele to perform at his new club is clearly evident by his large cue of desperation while failing. However, one would argue about the consistency of the French International through the entirety of the season. So far, the performances have been consistent. From the flashes of brilliance, which makes him very hard to contain for the opposition to his spell of stigma. But it often gets way too inspected at times. While none seem to acknowledge the fact that yet of his tender age of 19, Dembele still manages to play a key role in one of the world’s best clubs.
Importance in Dortmund
Dembele might have done just enough to earn a spot in Bundesliga’s team of the hindrance and just six months into his career at Dortmund, the youngster has managed to forge himself a potent figure in Thomas Tuchel’s team. Of course, a large number of injuries to players such as Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle and Raphael Guerreiro have helped but made no mistake, Dembele has been successful in his métier of shining among a host of talents.
There is no doubt, Dortmund are struggling to cope with their injury problems this season, which is largely affecting in their form too. This also ushers a new role for Dembele at his new club. He will play a crucial role as Thomas Tuchel’s men aim to get back among Germany’s elites in the second half of the season. His job will become harder and the serenity will be put to test.
Anas Ali Molla
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