Is Tom Rothe ready to start for Borussia Dortmund?

Tom Rothe
Tom Rothe / Stuart Franklin/GettyImages
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Tom Rothe has been on loan at Holstein Kiel, who are atop the 2. Bundesliga, a point clear of St. Pauli. Promotion to the Bundesliga now beckons for Kiel, and the Borussia Dortmund loanee has played a key part in their success this season.

Rothe has made the left wing-back spot his own at Holstein Kiel this season, and has become adept at carrying the ball forward with a bit of pace and flair. Holstein Kiel do not play the prettiest brand of football, their cross heavy play has not had the same headlines of St Pauli, who currently trail them in the standings. But the 19 year old's crossing ability has been utilised really well by Marcel Rapp and his side.

But how important is Tom Rothe to Holstein Kiel?

Despite Rothe’s defensive positioning, he is currently 2nd in npxG+xAG in the Holstein Kiel squad with 8.5, just .1 behind Steven Skrzybski, his side's striker. Rothe has taken or set up over 17% of his team’s total output for npxG+xAG. His importance to his team’s attack cannot be overstated as without his involvement, Kiel would not be anywhere near the top of the table. 

Rothe’s 8.5 npxG+xAG is also not too far off the 11.4 of Marius Wolf, Thomas Meunier, Julian Ryerson, Ian Maatsen and Ramy Bensabaini combined . This demonstrates Rothe’s brilliance in terms of creativity from open play as a wing-back, as he plays for a side that does not create a lot of open play chances and relies much more on set pieces. To illustrate how reliant Kiel is on Rothe, his contributing to 17% of Kiel's output is just 3.7% less than Dortmund's reliance on every full-back that has played for the club this season. Rothe's expected stats also match up closely to his output of real goals and assists of ten.

While Maatsen may be a better passer, he is helped by Borussia Dortmund being a better possession side than Kiel. The Dutchman has been effective since joining BVB on loan from Chelsea, even if he has struggled at times in defensive duels. However, even doubling Maatsen's current npxG+xAG total of 2.3 to 4.6 to make up for him only having half a campaign in Germany, he would still have half of Rothe’s output.