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Axel Witsel, Borussia Dortmund 4-1, RB Leipzig

Bundesliga

Axel Witsel is on road to becoming new Borussia Dortmund star

Axel Witsel is on road to becoming new Borussia Dortmund star. The Belgian midfielder has responded very well after making his move to Borussia Dortmund from Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian. He scored a late equalizer on his debut in German Cup first-round against Furth which earned Yellow Brigades extra-time to find the winner. Marco Reus scored the winner in extra-time added minutes to help Dortmund go into the next round. And today, Belgian star has a debut to remember in Bundesliga scoring an overhead kick in 4-1 victory over RB Leipzig.

It feels Axel Witsel is on road to becoming new Borussia Dortmund’s star. We almost lost tracking Borussia Dortmund after 2012/13 season. After winning two consecutive Bundesliga title in 2010/11 and 2011/12, the Bundesliga club had finally managed to reach to the UEFA Champions League final that season. Then, their emerging stars had being global names.

Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, and Robert Lewandowski were the deadly trio in Europe at that time, but then Robert Lewandowski and a season later Mario Gotze made a big money move to their arch-rival Bayern Munich. It left Marco Reus alone on the pitch and charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp helpless on the sideline.

Jurgen Klopp also departed at the end of the 2014/15 season as the team finished 7th on Bundesliga table. Thomas Tuchel replaced him for 2015/16 season, and he gave immediate response helping Dortmund finish runners-up that season. But, Dortmund slipped again next season to third as RB Leipzig surprisingly helped themselves to finish runners-up. However, Tuchel’s side won DFB-Pokal that season.

Tuchel work was in progress but he didn’t enjoy a very good relationship with club CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke. His plans were not in sync with club’s board. He was sacked and within one season club changed two coaches in Peter Bosz and Peter Stoger. The result got worse as club finished fourth on Bundesliga points table behind Bayern Munich, Schalke, and Hoffenheim.

Lucien Favre become new head coach of Borussia Dortmund for 2018/19 season. He brought almost forgotten star Axel Witsel back from China. Witsel was one of the few stars who left European football at their prime to play in China for the sake of money.

Axel Witsel had almost joined Juventus two-year back. It was reported that he had a medical with Bianconeri but at the last minute deal collapsed and former Zenit St. Petersburg star moved to Tianjin Quanjian. Thanks to Barcelona import of Paulinho last season from China, European clubs have started to believe that a player is not finished after China’s adventure.

Belgium team performance at 2018 World Cup also helped Axel Witsel to be back in limelight. Witsel was part of Belgium squad at World Cup in Russia and he really impressed in his role.

Now, he is playing his second inning in Europe. Borussia Dortmund have shown confidence in him and he is not ready to let them down. He has already proved his mettle early in the season. Some more performance like these and he’ll be new Dortmund star. He is expected to run the show in the middle alongside Thomas Delaney for Borussia Dortmund.

Julian Weigl, Raphael Guerreiro, Shinji Kagawa, and Mario Gotze are finding their place difficult in starting XI. Marco Reus has already said that Axel Witsel is the player Borussia Dortmund needed.

Reus told Kicker Magazine as Bundesliga official website reports, “Witsel has a big character. When he come on you could see that he was exactly what we needed. We’re now very well stocked in this position.”

I guess Marco Reus has got a partner in his crime. After losing Gotze and Lewandowski, Marco Reus also failed to give his best because of his prolonged injury. He got Gotze back two seasons ago but 2014 World Cup winner is not same any more. Witsel might prove to be that missing link which Dortmund desperatley needed.

Borussia Dortmund’s Sporting Director Michael Zorc also praised him after his much needed equalizer against Furth. He said, “We didn’t sign him to score goals, but this time it helped.”

Axel Witsel has already proved how influential he is in his first two games for the club. He might only be a deep lying midfielder but he’s always a constant threat for the opposition with his physical presence, quick feet, and a knack for goals.

The versatile midfielder is definitely going to be next Dortmund star. He can do a mezzala, the director and also the playmaker role. He is an ideal wildcard for every situation.

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