Tom Rothe highlights the youth talent at Borussia Dortmund’s disposal in win vs Wolfsburg

Tom Rothe was on target on his first-team debut (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)
Tom Rothe was on target on his first-team debut (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images) /

Borussia Dortmund’s 17 year old left-back Tom Rothe made an instant impact on his Bundesliga debut against VfL Wolfsburg this past Saturday.

Borussia Dortmund’s game against VfL Wolfsburg, while impressive in terms of performance, will hold little significance in terms of the final outcome regarding this season. This of course doesn’t mean that the game lacked significance however. For one Tom Rothe, the game against Wolfsburg offered a chance to experience his very first Bundesliga match with the first team, and what an immense experience it turned out to be for the young German defender.

Rothe found himself on the scoresheet at the 23 minute mark, steering a header past Koen Casteels, who was in for a rough day at the office. Rothe’s goal would mark the opening of the floodgates for Dortmund, who put 5 past Wolfsburg in 14 first half minutes and 6 overall.

Rothe’s selection came as a welcome surprise, as many who follow Dortmund’s youth teams have been quite excited to see the young German defender succeed at the very top level for the club. Rothe himself only found out that he’d be starting the game after the team’s final training session, which was cause for excitement for the 17 year old:

"“I was super happy that I got to play. Of course, I was a bit lucky and unlucky that Hazard felt unwell in training. I’m happy that the coach gave me the confidence to even play from the start. And it went quite well, I would say.” – Tom Rothe, Kicker"

Tom Rothe becomes the fourth youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history

To say Rothe’s debut went well is an understatement. Not only did he manage to put the ball in the back of the net on his debut in front of a packed Westfalenstadion, he also became the youngest player in history to score on their Bundesliga debut. It’s pretty impressive that not only did he manage to end up on the scoresheet and endear himself to the fans, he also made a bit of history too.

Rothe’s contribution to the Wolfsburg demolition went further than scoring the opener, however. The young full-back showed good defensive positioning and did well to provide width to Dortmund’s game.

Rothe often made himself available to receive passes out wide, which is something Dortmund have missed in many instances over the course of this season. He also tried to put the ball into the box a few times for his teammates to feed off of. And some of those crosses nearly resulted in chances for the Black and Yellows.

His efforts will surely not go unnoticed by Dortmund’s coaching staff, and will improve his chances of getting more minutes going forward. For now however, Rothe is content to keep working hard and simply waiting to see what the tail end of the season holds for him:

"“We have other top full backs [at the club]. I’m still young, too. So for now, keep your head down and see what happens over the next few weeks. I’ll keep my foot on the gas.”"

Alongside Rothe, fellow youth players Lion Semic and Jamie Byone-Gittens also made their professional debuts on Saturday, albeit the duo only came on for short cameos in the final minutes. It was a bit disappointing that Marco Rose waited until the last couple of minutes to give the two young and talented players a run out, especially considering he put both Reinier and Marin Pongračić on before them when the game was already well beyond Wolfsburg’s reach. Both Reinier and Pongračić are on loan at Dortmund and will leave the club at the end of the season.

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Despite the disappointment surrounding the short amount of time given to both Bynoe-Gittens and Semic, it was absolutely wonderful to see Dortmund field a young player they are developing in their own youth system and to see him not only get a chance but also succeed in playing a pivotal role in securing victory for his side.

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Rothe’s performance, including his opening goal, put much needed wind in Dortmund’s sails, which pushed them on to grow in confidence and put on a very entertaining display. I expect that we will see much more of Tom Rothe in the years to come, and that he will provide Borussia Dortmund fans many more reasons to smile going forward.