Analysing Emre Can’s struggles amid Borussia Dortmund’s midfield mess

Emre Can. (Photo by Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
Emre Can. (Photo by Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images) /
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Emre Can
Emre Can. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images) /

Emre Can’s performances

While more is being demanded of Emre Can, he has given less so far. Last season, he was set up to mainly receive the ball in midfield and give it to Jude Bellingham, switch play and provide security in possession. Now instead of receiving and letting his better teammates progress the ball, he is being asked to do this himself.

The Germany international has been unable to progress the ball well at all so far this season. Additionally in a very small sample size this season, Can has struggled to switch play. He has under hit several passes to the full-backs and this was seen against Heidenheim as Can took three touches under little pressure to play a ball to Wolf which was intercepted.

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How does Emre Can compare to other Bundesliga players?

The biggest condemnation of Emre Can’s ability is in comparing him to other defensive midfielders in the Bundesliga. Despite all playing in significantly worse teams with less possession and therefore less opportunities to complete forward passes, players like, Dominik Kohr, Wataru Endo and Ellyes Skhiri all completed more progressive passes per 90 than Can last season.

Even these players who often play in midfield threes as the deeper player with less responsibility in possession are outdoing Can. While Skhiri only marginally outperformed Can in this metric, it looks worse given BVB’s superior talent and would increase significantly when adjusted for position.

Emre Can has had three seasons, one with Liverpool and two with Dortmund from 2020-2022 where he was an above average progressive passer. It is on Terzic to recapture that form in a player he has staked a lot on.