Borussia Dortmund have had a raft of players come through the youth ranks in many years, with very few making their mark on the senior team. Many have struggled to even nail down a rotational place in the team. Among these players was Luca Unbehaun.
Unbehaun moved to Dortmund from VFL Bochum in 2016 and impressed at youth level, but never made the breakthrough for the senior side. He did however play 59 games for Dortmund’s second team.
Since leaving in 2023 to join 3. Bundesliga side SC Verl, he has become their primary shot stopper. Prior to the move however, the player said in a recent interview that his time at Dortmund was rather unstable, even down to the basics of his training regiment:
"I never really had a permanent team. You train with the professionals during the week, take part in the final training at the U23 on Fridays and play there at the weekend. Over time, I didn't really feel like I belonged anywhere."- Luca Unbehaun
This lack of permanence cast doubt on Unbehaun’s chances of making a breakthrough, which was confirmed during the 2021/2022 season when Gregor Kobel picked up an injury. Despite being asked by numerous teammates if he was ready to play, he ended up not being picked for the game in question, which led to disappointment:
"… many in the team asked me before if I was fit for the weekend. Erling Haaland said, for example, that he doesn't ask this for fun because he certified me to be in really good form. Of course, he did not decide in the end.. I was a little disappointed that a different decision was made. Especially since no one talked to me about why this happened."- Luca Unbehaun
Despite the lack of game time, Unbehaun signed a long term extension in 2022 with Dortmund, in the hopes that this would be the chance he needed to break through into the first team. Both Roman Bürki and Marwin Hitz were on their way out, which signaled an opportunity for the player. Dortmund’s moves on the transfer market to add Marcel Lotka and Alexander Meyer shut this down, and led to the player regretting his choice to extend his contract:
"Looking back, I should not have extended. I had a strong phase and had shown good performances in the 3rd. League. That would probably have been the right time to try something different."- Luca Unbehaun
Unbehaun's future at Dortmund was clearly not to be, and perhaps from the player's perspective, finally getting away and joining SC Verl was the right move in the long term. It remains to be seen where his career takes him, but it is clear that, at least from a personal standpoint, he is on the right trajectory to have a professional career with more minutes on the pitch than he recieved at his former club.
From a general development standpoint, Unbehaun's story is just another tale that underscores how little players Dortmund has integrated from the youth setup into the senior side in the last couple years. This should be something that Dortmund look to change with the next batch of promising youngsters that are coming up through the club's academy.