Salih Özcan, what are you?
Salih Özcan made his first start of the season playing as a number six. Borussia Dortmund proceeded to have their best defensive performance of the season while still having a decent statistical attacking output. Özcan was not spectacular by any means, but did what is most important for a defensive midfielder by not really doing anything wrong.
The Turkish international broke up play well in the middle of the park and was not caught out much. Last season, his struggles to adapt to a team that controls much more of the ball highlighted his weaknesses in possession.
Against Wolfsburg, Özcan began to show the promise he had displayed at Köln. He was particularly good at getting in between the first line of the press to receive the ball in midfield on the turn and carry forward before spraying diagonal balls wide as well as a few quick low passes into central areas.
With Emre Can the club captain and a favourite of Edin Terzic, Özcan may not get too many chances to prove himself. But he certainly managed to take full advantage of his first.
Given Can’s ability to pick up cards, it is certain Özcan will be called upon again. And if he can maintain this level of performance, he might be able to get more minutes in the team than anyone would have imagined before the season.