Why Julian Brandt and Emre Can played for Borussia Dortmund just 18 hours after Germany game

Emre Can of Borussia Dortmund looks on (Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Emre Can of Borussia Dortmund looks on (Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images) /

Everyone was a bit surprised to see Emre Can and Julian Brandt start for Dortmund against Sparta Rotterdam on Monday, but Kehl confirmed it was always the plan.

Both Emre Can and Julian Brandt played with the German national team on Sunday and were still able to make it back in time for Borussia Dortmund’s friendly on Monday, surprising many. After the German national team turned in a pair of disappointing draws against Spain and Switzerland during the International break, Can and Brandt wasted no time shifting their attention back to Borussia Dortmund.

Sebastia Kehl confirmed on Tuesday that both players were in contact with Lucien Favre after Sunday’s game, expressing their desire to take part in the final friendly on Monday. That’s a very promising sign for Borussia Dortmund, to see a couple of their regulars pushing to get more pre-season friendly time when they could have easily taken the time off. Can and Brandt were both second half substitutes for Germany, and getting more minutes under their belt will hopefully help them be ready for the start of the new season.

"Kehl said, “Both were still in contact with the coach the evening after the game. They talked and discussed for a long time about their playing against Rotterdam.”“That (playing against Sparta Rotterdam) did both of them really good. We still have a week to go. The boys can now regenerate properly. We are still in the preparation phase and that was a good idea.”"

Neither player has been outstanding during pre-season so that would have been another factor in their decision. Although Emre Can’s versatility to play midfield and defense will see him get a lot of game time regardless, both players are clearly focused on getting to their highest level before the start of the season. This is especially important for Brandt as he faces a lot more competition this season in central midfield and attack than last year.

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With Marco Reus coming back from injury and the emergence of Gio Reyna this pre-season, Julian Brandt will have lots of competition if he is looking to slide into the number 10 spot. On top of that, the addition and exceptional play of Jude Bellingham has increased the competition in the midfield positions alongside Brandt, Witsel, Delaney, Dahoud and Can. Brandt is unquestionably one of Dortmund’s most talented players but he will need to find a higher level of consistency this season to keep his spot in the starting XI.