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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Emre Can of Borussia Dortmund
Emre Can. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) /

Emre Can

Emre Can was signed in 2020 to provide versatility and add some tenacity to the BVB midfield. However with Favre & Rose gone, as well as changes to the team’s playing style, Can under Terzić was always going to be a player under threat. With new signings coming in and the emergence of Mo Dahoud in 2021, there was no telling what his role would be.

Can did not start in any of the first three Bundesliga matches for Dortmund, but had to come on in the 18th minute of the Bremen game due to an injury to Dahoud. He did not seem to have any rhythm when he entered the pitch. The whole team struggled against Bremen, but Can could not hold the ball leading to unforced turnovers, was caught out of position on a number of occasions and just never quite brought the stability they needed from him in defensive midfield.

With summer signing Salih Özcan and Mahmoud Dahoud both ahead of him in the pecking order, one would have to wonder where Can will fit in this season. Özcan is coming off a very promising season at FC Köln and when fully fit, is expected to challenge for a starting spot. Although this may forecast that Can could well be the odd man out, his versatility is one thing that Dortmund can lean on should there be injuries over the course of the season.

Cup games, European nights, and tactical situations in matches will all be opportunities for Can to showcase his value to the team. The hope will be that he can significantly contribute as an experienced member of the squad.