Make or break: Three underperforming Borussia Dortmund players who need to step up

Julian Brandt (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)
Julian Brandt (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Julian Brandt. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
Julian Brandt. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images) /

Julian Brandt

Julian Brandt, more than any squad player, seems to divide the opinion of fans thoroughly. The once promising midfielder brought in from Bayer Leverkusen in 2019 has never quite seemed to live up to the hype and promise he once looked to bring to BVB and Germany fans.

Brandt is coming off a 2021-22 season where he marked a career high by scoring nine goals and registering eight assists in 22 starts. This season seemed poised to be one for Brandt to build on. But all of a sudden Marco Rose unexpectedly left, Edin Terzić was brought back, and new players were signed to improve the forward line. So where does this leave Brandt?

After an up and down pre-season, new signings and the emergence of a budding forward group, Brandt did not start the season opener against former club Leverkusen. In the feisty 1-0 win over their top four rivals, Brandt came on as a sub. He also came off the bench in the 3-1 win over Freiburg and managed to register an assist.

Brandt was handed his first start of the season after Donyell Malen suffered a late injury prior to the game against Werder Bremen. He remarkably scored a tidy goal against the run of play. It was an instant impact brought about by a moment of sheer quality. It was a moment Dortmund fans hoped would catapult the team to a routine win.

However, Borussia Dortmund would go on and let in an improbable three goals in six minutes to throw away a 2-0 lead and lose 3-2 to Bremen. Brandt’s goal was a moment of individual quality in a disjointed game where no Dortmund player stood out. And the playmaker’s overall performance left a lot to be desired as well.

The question then remains, will Brandt be able to perform consistently enough to help Dortmund fight for the league, and also in the Champions League and the DFB-Pokal? Can he register double digit goals and assists for the first time in his career? This could be a career shaping year for Julian Brandt at Borussia Dortmund.