Commitment and Leadership: Emre Can can be the key in Borussia Dortmund’s push for Champions League qualification

Emre Can could be key for Borussia Dortmund in the second half of the season (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)
Emre Can could be key for Borussia Dortmund in the second half of the season (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images) /
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One year ago, Emre Can left Juventus to return to Germany and take the well-trodden path from the Serie A record champions to the black and yellows of Borussia Dortmund. So far, he has made an impressive impact and that is only set to get bigger in the second half of this season.

Borussia Dortmund have been inactive in the winter transfer window; there have been no signings. Many football observers regard this as a missed opportunity to strengthen an embattled team already out of title contention and struggling to maintain the pace at the top of the Bundesliga table.

Axel Witsel’s absence has left a hole in the Borussia Dortmund midfield

Particularly in the midfield, the loss of Axel Witsel, who is out for the rest of the season due to a ruptured Achilles tendon, sustained in the match against RB Leipzig last month, is a substantial loss and the cause of instability in midfield.

However, Thomas Delaney has stepped into the breach with some notable performances, especially against Augsburg on Saturday. The 29-year-old was named man of the match and scored the equaliser in a gutsy performance, which will undoubtedly earn him more opportunities in the centre of midfield.

Another player who has demonstrated his worth in midfield is Jude Bellingham, the new arrival from Birmingham City has been pivotal in midfield. More worryingly for interim coach Edin Terzic however are the doubts about Julian Brandt’s inconsistent form. The Germany international has been struggling to assert himself despite promising recent showings. While Mahmoud Dahoud also looks to be nearing the end of his BVB career after a training ground row with Edin Terzic last month.

However, midfield is not the only area of concern for interim coach Edin Terzic. In a season where, BVB has already conceded 27 goals just 14 less than the 41 conceded in the whole of last season and that at just past the halfway mark of the season. There remain serious imbalances in the backline, most notably with a lack of natural centre-backs in the side.

Neither Thomas Meunier nor Mateu Morey have been able to persuade the critics who regard anything less than a major signing to replace designated left-back Nico Schulz in particular, as leaving Borussia exposed in a make or break season where failure to qualify for the Champions League would have significant financial implications for the club.