The Double Pivot: Emre Can and Felix Nmecha
Emre Can will certainly be a lock at the six after the club pulled out of a move to sign Edson Alvarez. Can is statistically strong in the air and slightly above average for a defensive midfielder with around four tackles and interceptions per game.
Can is generally quite ball secure and came into his own in the Rückrunde as a distributor switching play. Can frequently drops between the defenders to pick up the ball and at times in transitional defending. Can is a competent defensive midfielder and the team’s leader on and off the pitch.
With new Captain Emre Can certain to return in midfield, the question of his more forward thinking partner remains. With new signings Marcel Sabitzer and Felix Nmecha, Dortmund have two distinctly different options. Nmecha seems more likely with a much higher fee.
Sabitzer may start at first with Nmecha limited in appearances across the club’s summer friendlies while recovering from an injury. However Nmecha, after his first full senior campaign, could be poised for a breakout campaign. Nmecha’s statistical profile is as a ball carrier that can both create and help defensively but has struggled to pass the ball in senior football.
Nmecha has yet to prove he can be a progressive passer, but can certainly play the final pass. Nmecha showed a tendency to over dribble at times as well, but if he can start to make small adjustments he could be ready for a breakout season with 8-10 assists not out of the question.
Nmecha will likely start over Sabitzer who is less creative when playing in midfield than Nmecha. Nmecha’s creativity may be valued over Sabitzer’s passing and extra defensive work with Dortmund’s leading creator Guerreiro having departed.