Youssoufa Moukoko: Analyzing the development of Borussia Dortmund’s wunderkind

Youssoufa Moukoko (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images)
Youssoufa Moukoko (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Youssoufa Moukoko
Youssoufa Moukoko. (Photo by Stefan Matzke – sampics/Corbis via Getty Images) /

Injury struggles in the 2021/22 season

The 2021/22 season was a very different story for Youssoufa Moukoko, although he still faced some of the same challenges as in his first season. The striker played in a total of 22 games across all competitions for the BVB first-team, scoring only two goals and adding an additional two assists. All told, Moukoko was on the pitch for only 358 minutes for the first-team across the entire season. He missed a further fourteen games due to injuries, an upsetting trend for the striker and the Black and Yellow fanbase.

Whereas one might look at Moukoko’s 21/22 season at a glance and see rather underwhelming performances, it should be quickly noted his usage dipped tremendously under Marco Rose as compared to the year prior with Edin Terzic as interim coach. Moukoko averaged merely ten minutes per substitute appearance in the Bundesliga with Rose at the helm, where he had been averaging nearly thirty minutes per game under Terzic. Creating further intrigue was that last season was marked by a tremendous amount of injuries within the Dortmund squad.

Then-head coach Marco Rose was clear from the beginning of the campaign that he planned to slowly work Moukoko into the first team squad. Even at the end of the season, when criticism of Moukoko’s performances abounded, Rose was quick to defend the young player, reminding media and fans alike of the fact that Moukoko is still only seventeen.

This defense, however, also highlights the very thing that is most frustrating about Youssoufa Moukoko: he often plays just like you would expect a seventeen-year old to play. Watching Moukoko on the pitch, he typically looks like a kid playing amongst men. He seems to have plenty of ideas and a plethora of talent, but is all too often taking on two, three, and even four opposing players at a time to make things happen.

Now, I know. How can we fault a kid for playing like you would expect a kid to play? But I think this is indicative of how we as a larger fanbase view a player like Moukoko, or any kid that has similar potential for stardom. After so many years of palpable hype and excitement, we can almost tend to forget that we’re watching a literal teenager play against grown men who have been playing this game for longer than Moukoko has been alive.

We should also remember the things that Youssoufa Moukoko does well. He has an extremely high motor. When he is on the pitch, he almost never stops moving, always looking to be in the right position at the right time. Another noticeable and very valuable asset the Germany U-21s international possesses is his skill with the ball at his feet. His ability to retain possession as a striker will pay dividends as he continues to develop his link-up skills and his overall ability to play within the team. Since making his debut, Moukoko has averaged a goal or assist every 70.8 minutes that he’s played in the Bundesliga, a feat that even the most established attackers struggle to achieve.