Alexander Isak, the forgotten striker. That’s how Dortmund fans have come to know the young Swedish frontman the club signed back January of 2017.
Best remembered as the striker bought under Thomas Tuchel‘s nose, Isak was the subject of widespread acclaim and positivity at the time of his signing, with the player being touted as the “next Zlatan Ibrahimovic”. Having beaten the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea, and Juventus to his signing, the general expectation was that Borussia Dortmund had just added another jewel to their star studded lineup of potential worldbeaters.
Isak’s time at Dortmund has not reflected the hype, however. Isak has been given little to no playing time, and the playing time he has been given has not sufficed to convince anyone of the qualities he was praised for when he still played for Allsvenskan in the Swedish league. Isak has yet to score a single goal in the Bundesliga for Dortmund, which doesn’t help his case. His longest stint of performances came in the Peter Stöger era, until he was replaced by Michy Batshuayi, who came in on loan. Even under Lucien Favre, Isak was left out of the squad in the first half of this season, despite Dortmund not having a proper striker up top. With the loan deal and then successive purchase of Paco Alcacer, it seemed that Isak was destined to fall even deeper into obscurity, spending most of his time playing in the Regionalliga West with Borussia Dortmund II.
In January of this year, however, Isak was given a chance to go on loan. A player at his age needs minutes on the pitch to develop, and seeing as none of Dortmund’s four last coaches have deemed it appropriate to give him the time he needs, the loan was a good idea in my eyes, and it’s seemingly done him a world of good. Since going out on loan, Isak has become quite the sensation for Dutch Eredivisie side Willem II. In 9 appearances for the Dutch side, Isak has found the back of the net 6 times and provided 1 assist, a total that already exceeds the output he’s been able to provide Die Schwarzgelben with. Some of the goals he’s scored have been very pretty, especially the solo run against Feyenoord before the international break.
The match highlights show more than Isak’s ability to score, however. Throughout the game Isak was able to link up with the other players well, putting in passes for teammates making runs, and even putting in some crosses from the wings as well. It would be his goal, but also his overall performance, that won him the man of the match award that day, showing that he’s still capable of playing a pivotal role for any team that retains his services.