Is Kjell Wätjen set to be Borussia Dortmund’s next breakthrough star?

Borussia Dortmund could see Kjell Wätjen as the next academy jewel to pin their future hopes on. 
U18 Juniors Germany - Team Photo, Individual Portraits & Training Photos
U18 Juniors Germany - Team Photo, Individual Portraits & Training Photos / Neil Baynes/GettyImages

Borussia Dortmund youngster Kjell Wätjen has been gathering more and more attention as Borussia Dortmund have subtly began to include him in their first team plans this season. Dortmund’s u-19 star has had an impressive season so far, with 7 goals and 8 assists registered in 15 appearances in the u-19 Bundesliga West. 

These performances have led to serious praise from Dortmund head coach Edin Terzić, who included the player in the match day squad vs Heidenheim (unused sub) and then most recently in Dortmund’s Champions League clash with PSV. According to Terzić, these inclusions were rewards for the player's performance this season: 

"Kjell is with us because he is good. We have always had the opportunity to include him in training. He has earned it through his great performances."

Edin Terzić

Aside from being on the bench for Dortmund's game against PSV, Wätjen also recently played a starring role in defeating Schalke's u-19 side. The player both captained the team and scored in the match, which does well to emphasize that his form shows no signs of faltering anytime soon.

There have been corresponding talks recently between the club and Wätjen about a professional contract, which the club wants to get over the line as soon as possible. Wätjen’s current deal runs out in 2025 and therefore they are certainly keen on tying the youngster down to a new, long term deal. According to RN, negotiations are still in the early stages. 

With all this excitement surrounding the player, the question then is, can he be the club’s next big academy success story? The answer is a likely yes, particularly because the player is a versatile midfielder and can fill in all across the midfield. His primary position is central midfield however and the uncertain nature of the center of the park for Dortmund this season may give Wätjen the opening he needs to assert himself in midfield. 

Borussia Dortmund player ratings from 1-1 draw against PSV Eindhoven. dark. Next. Borussia Dortmund player ratings from 1-1 draw against PSV Eindhoven

On Dortmund’s end, the goal should certainly be to help facilitate this if possible. The state of the transfer market aside, Dortmund have strayed away from their mantra of giving truly talented youngsters the time to shine on the pitch, (see Moukoko’s limited minutes as an example). This has been a cornerstone of the club for years, and something they should be looking to return to, especially with their own academy products. Building a squad of players that identify with the club could also help with player retention, an ever present threat due to the financial structure of football in this era.