Marius Wolf: From Borussia Dortmund back-up to Germany international

Marius Wolf. (Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images)
Marius Wolf. (Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images) /
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The next game in sight might be the most important 90 minutes of Borussia Dortmund’s season by far, but before we divert all our attention to the Bundesliga, let’s give one last look to the international break and take note of what’s been happening. Marius Wolf made his international debut for Germany during the international break, continuing what has been a remarkable start to 2023 for him. With his debut in the books, it is worth looking at what has been brewing with the restructuring campaign for Hansi Flick’s side.

Germany’s issues at Right-Back

Germany’s right-back problems have been well documented in recent years. Over the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign, Germany used five players for the right-back position. Jonas Hofmann was the most used choice, with four appearances. He was the preferred choice in Flick’s 4-2-3-1 formation throughout the qualifying campaign. Klostermann followed him with three appearances.

Cut to the World Cup, where Hansi Flick fielded a 4-2-3-1 formation for the first game against Japan, but went with Niklas Süle as his right-back despite his lack of experience in that role.  Hofmann, who is more of a winger, was left on the bench. It felt like Flick was looking for more defensive robustness.

But the Süle experiment lasted just one game, and Flick’s lack of assurance with the right-back position grew in the tournament. He went with Thilo Kehrer against Spain, followed by Joshua Kimmich against Costa Rica to try and revert to a safety-first approach.

The right-back dilemma seems like a problem that BVB fans are all too familiar with—the 2022/23 season has already seen Edin Terzic try out several different options in the position, with varying effect.

Borussia Dortmund’s Right-Back problems

Thomas Meunier was the first-choice right-back for Borussia Dortmund up until he suffered a cheekbone fracture in the first half of the season.

Viewed as a solid defensive option who offers good crosses into the box, Meunier seemed to be a classic no-nonsense right-back. Even last season, the Belgian international played in 17 of the 18 Bundesliga games he was fit for. But after his tendon injury in February, Marco Rose tried everything under the sun to solve the right-back conundrum, from a combination of Emre Can and Thorgan Hazard to using Manuel Akanji at right-back.

Marco Rose had been utilising Marius Wolf in a variety of roles, including right wing and wing-back. But it became quite apparent after a while that Wolf could fill in at right-back. With Meunier sidelined, Wolf ended up taking over the right-back spot. And a similar issue returned to haunt Borussia Dortmund this season on the eve of the World Cup.