Hit, miss or maybe? Rating Borussia Dortmund′s recent young signings | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 03.07.2019
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Hit, miss or maybe? Rating Borussia Dortmund's recent young signings

Jadon Sancho and Ousmane Dembele are among those who've helped establish Borussia Dortmund as a prime destination for young talent. But is the club's reputation for smart recruitment and development deserved?

The signing of highly-regarded right back Mateu Morey, 19, earlier this week was further proof of Borussia Dortmund's policy of signing promising players early in their careers and developing them either for the first team or a hefty profit.

While the arrival of established stars Mats Hummels, Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazardhave caught the eye this summer, the capture of Morey shows the club still have the future in mind. DW takes a look at how all of the club's under-21 signings have fared in the last five seasons.

Season: 2018-19
Coach: Lucien Favre

Under-21 arrivals: 2

Leonardo Balerdi: The Argentinian was a surprise January arrival, joining the Bundesliga outfit after just five senior appearances for Boca Juniors. Despite a €15.5 million ($17.4m) fee and the struggles of Dortmund's other young center halves in the second half of the season, Balerdi is yet to make his debut. The arrival of Hummels will presumably push him further down the pecking order.

Verdict: Miss, but still time.

Achraf Hakimi: The Moroccan fullback arrived on a two-year loan from Real Madrid and started with a debut goal against Nuremberg. Three assists followed in his next four games as his swashbuckling style and ability to play on either flank raised hopes that Dortmund had a player who could replace the aging Marcel Schmelzer and/or Lukasz Piszczek, should they be able to agree a permanent deal. His form faded in the second half of the season before a metatarsal injury ended his debut Bundesliga campaign in early April.

Verdict: Hit, if they can get him permanently.

Season 2017-18
Coach: Peter Bosz/Peter Stöger

Under-21 arrivals: 4

Jadon Sancho: The English winger enjoyed a sensational campaign last term, racking up 12 goals and 17 assists after feeling his way in to the league the previous season. His skill, decision making and age - he's still just 19 - mean he's already one of the world's most sought after players. The €7.8 million Dortmund paid Manchester City looks like peanuts.

Verdict: Hit.

Mahmoud Dahoud: Signed for about €12 million on the back of an excellent season for Borussia Mönchengladbach, the central midfielder looked set to become a fixture at Signal Iduna Park. But, despite some promising displays, he's failed to find consistency and completed 90 minutes just four times in the league last season. At 23, he needs a big season to get past Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney. It's time Dahoud started to fulfill his potential.

Verdict: Miss, for now anyway.

Sergio Gomez: Like Morey, a product of Barcelona's La Masia academy, Gomez has so far only seen seven minutes of Bundesliga action. But at 18, the creative midfielder has plenty of time.

Dan-Axel Zagadou has struggled to cement a spot in the first team

Dan-Axel Zagadou has struggled to cement a spot in the first team

Verdict: Maybe a hit.

Dan Axel Zagadou: The free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain was used frequently by Lucien Favre last season and his strength in the air and composure on the ball initially impressed. But as the pressure started to tell on Dortmund,  Zagadou's performances started to fall away. A high profile error in the title decider against Bayern Munich was a particular low point but the potential is there.

Verdict: Hit

Season 2016-17
Coach: Thomas Tuchel 

Under-21 arrivals: 4

Ousmane Dembele: The Frenchman's electric pace and eye for goal made him an almost instant hit. But things turned sour when the wide forward agitated for a move towards the end of his debut Bundesliga season. He eventually got his way, with Barcelona paying almost €100m more than the €13.5m Dortmund splashed out on the then 19-year-old. His future in Catalonia looks unclear with Antoine Griezmann expected to swell Barca's attacking ranks soon, and Bayern Munich have been linked.

Verdict: Hit

Emre Mor: Big things were expected of the tricky winger but Mor never quite got it together at Dortmund. The Turkish international scored a solitary Bundesliga goal before being sold, for a slight profit, to Celta Vigo after a single season in Germany.

Verdict: Miss

Mikel Merino's time at the club was brief

Mikel Merino's time at the club was brief

Mikel Merino: It was a similar story for the gifted Spanish midfielder who joined Newcastle following a successful loan spell after failing to make an impact in the Bundesliga. Despite that, Dortmund almost doubled their money on Merino, who is now at Real Sociedad.

Verdict: Hit, in financial terms, miss on the pitch

Alexander Isak: The rangy Swedish striker came highly rated and showed glimpses of his talent, particularly in the German Cup. But despite Dortmund's lack of natural strikers he was sent out to Willem II in the Eredivise last term. A successful stint at the Dutch club convinced Sociedad to shell out €6.5m on the 19-year-old this summer, a €2m loss for BVB.

Verdict: Miss

Season 2015-16
Coach: Thomas Tuchel 

Under-21 arrivals: 1

Julian Weigl: The€2.5m purchase from 1860 Munich proved a shrewd piece of business. The classy midfield metronome was a Tuchel favorite and looked set to be one of the best deep-lying playmakers in the world. The 23-year-old lost his way for a time but begun to win the trust of Favre towards the end of last season. Now 23, Weigl is another who needs to kick on soon, whether at Dortmund or elsewhere.

Verdict: Hit

Season 2014-15
Coach: Jürgen Klopp
     

Under-21 arrivals: 1

Matthias Ginter: A World Cup winner as useful for his versatility as his defensive qualities, Ginter was a popular member of Dortmund's first team for three years before moving to Borussia Mönchengladbach for a tidy €7m profit on their initial €10m outlay.

Verdict: Hit

Total Hits: 6

Total Misses: 3

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