The summer of 2023 brought a whirlwind of emotions for Borussia Dortmund fans. Losing key players such as Jude Bellingham, Raphael Guerreiro and Mahmoud Dahoud came with an expectation to replace the personnel with exciting, promising individuals or astute purchases that the Black and Yellows have been known in Europe to excel at.
With just over half the season played in the Bundesliga, we take a look at how the summer signings have been getting on. Who has been the best and worst of the summer signings so far?
The former Werder Bremen striker signed for Borussia Dortmund in underwhelming circumstances in the summer, despite arriving as Bundesliga’s top scorer in 2022/23.
His signing came at the recommendation of boss Edin Terzic, at the expense of adding another centre-back - most notably Armel Bella-Kotchap. With the squad being armed with strikers like Sebastien Haller and Youssoufa Moukoko, it was hard to make the case for another striker in a summer that was coming under heavy criticism for the lack of reinvestment after losing key players.
Yet through the adversity, the German international has silenced some of the doubters by establishing himself as the first-choice striker. Füllkrug has 11 goals so far in BVB colours across all competitions. A recent hat-trick against VfL Bochum showed that he can make a telling impact when given chances in front of goal.
His numbers against the bigger clubs are also quite encouraging. Goals against Newcastle, Stuttgart and RB Leipzig, as well as an assist against Paris St. German have shown that there is a talisman in there who works hard for the team.
However, there is plenty of room to improve and cause for why the signing was not the best use of resources. The first reason has been quite apparent at the lack of minutes that Youssoufa Moukoko has had this season. With Haller on AFCON duty for Ivory Coast, Moukoko has had a temporary promotion and earned a rare start against Bochum after scoring 2 goals in 2 successive cameo appearances.
The other factor is that when things are not going well, Füllkrug can often struggle to make the most of his chances or get involved in the game. A prime example of this was against Darmstadt, where he missed plentiful chances, even if the final scoreline reflected well on him. In crunch games towards the end of the season, this is a vital element to eliminate where fine lines may be the reason between Borussia Dortmund playing Champions League football next season or not.