Borussia Dortmund midfielder Felix Nmecha sat down in an interview with the club to discuss the game against PSG and the approaching clash with VFL Wolfsburg.
Since signing for Borussia Dortmund, Felix Nmecha has been one of the few “centers of attention” when focusing on how the club has performing both domestically as well as in European competition. Brought in from Wolfsburg for a hefty sum of 30 million euros, this brought with it a heavy set of expectations. Nmecha, like the rest of the team, has not met the expectations of the fans or the club in terms of performances, especially when one takes into account the type of competition Dortmund have faced to date domestically in particular.
Couple these lackluster showings with the general controversy surrounding his signing, and you create a proverbial powder keg that is on the cusp of being set off. Nmecha was one of the focal points of criticism for his performance against PSG mid-week, with many not particularly happy with the way he reacted to PSG’s second goal, merely standing off as Vitinha and former Dortmund fullback Achraf Hakimi combined to put PSG 2-0 ahead. Overall, the player acknowledged that it was a tough game:
"“We didn’t really get into the game, and we didn’t have as much possession as we wanted in the first half. Obviously that decision in the second half made a difference. We had good moments but after that, in the end it wasn’t enough.”"
Nmecha was also openly critical of his own display, pointing to the fact that he came on as a substitute for the injured Marcel Sabitzer very early on, and he found it very difficult to settle in after that:
"“It’s never easy when you have to come on early [as a substitute]. I didn’t really get into the game in the first half. I was better in the second half, but it wasn’t my best game. Personally, I wasn’t at the level I want to be at, but I’m confident in myself that I will improve.”"
During the pre-match press conference ahead of the Wolfsburg game, head coach Edin Terzić echoed this sentiment, expressing that he has full faith in Nmecha to improve going forward:
"“We are completely convinced of Felix Nmecha’s qualities. He didn’t have an easy pre-season, but he showed what he can do in the test against Ajax. It’s about integrating him into our game. We also know what he is capable of, we see in training.”"
Unfortunately for Nmecha, Terzić and the club as a whole, the profile of Nmecha’s signing was almost seen as a step towards replacing the output of the outgoing Jude Bellingham, at least to a degree. Nmecha’s overall poor form has had a greater impact on the team because they are inherently struggling without Bellingham in the midfield. It is a tall order to ask any player to fill the shoes of a talent like Bellingham, but this is the reality any midfielder would face coming to the club after his departure.
Nmecha’s main goals on the pitch align with what Dortmund are looking for in him – to be a creative box-to-box midfielder with a physical edge. Over the weekend, the German international may have the chance to do just that against his former team, Wolfsburg. In reminiscing on his last experience playing against Dortmund for his former club, Nmecha admitted that it was a very tough experience from the opening minutes. He will now be on the opposite end of this experience and expected to make it difficult for an opponent he knows very well. Tough experiences are what Nmecha says he thrives on:
"“I try to use those [tough] times in my career to become stronger, because I know I can get through them.”"
For Dortmund’s opponent on the weekend, Nmecha had nothing but praise, noting their quality and good start of the season in the process.
"“There are a few players who can be dangerous for us, but I think its more about how they work as a unit. We definitely need to give 100% in order to win this game.”"
Nmecha’s warning is something that Dortmund should certainly heed going into this game. The club’s recruitment in the advent of Nmecha’s departure in particular has been exemplary, with the club bringing in Croatian midfielder Lovro Majer as his successor – quite the coup for the club and a player for Dortmund to watch carefully going into this game. Danish forward Jonas Wind is also another dangerous player for the club to keep their eyes on, with the striker currently in a rich vein of form (5 goals and 1 assist in 4 games).
The game against Wolfsburg is one of significance for both Nmecha and Dortmund as player and club will look to use it as a possible launchpad towards better footballing fortunes. A win at home is the only acceptable outcome if the club wish to remain in any semblance of a title race this season.