Player Profile: A closer look at Borussia Dortmund's rising star Kjell Wätjen

A closer look at Borussia Dortmund's rising young talent Kjell Wätjen.
Kjell Wätjen
Kjell Wätjen / Ralf Ibing - firo sportphoto/GettyImages
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Progressive passing

Wätjen showed a high level of progressive passing on his debut. the young German had a team high of seven progressive passes. Of players with over 1,000 minutes, only Ramy Bensabaini is averaging over 6 p90 for BVB. While Wätjen’s sample size is small, this is still particularly positive. For an example of how rare this trait is in young players, this mark compares favourably to highly rated teenagers like Kobbie Mainoo and Archie Gray and superior to Jude Bellingham and Camavinga’s age 18 seasons.

This level of production is a skill that typically takes longer to develop, but Wätjen certainly has elite potential as a passer. Wätjen’s 47 passes in his 90 minutes is considerably lower than Can and Ozcan’s numbers this season, however, he shifted to right-back and saw his involvement diminish. Additionally, Wätjen, unlike Can did not drop between the centre-backs to receive the ball.

Watjen forced Augsburg to keep numbers there in the press, which opened up space for the centre-backs as he was able to receive the ball in midfield. This is something Dortmund fans have not seen much of from any of their midfielders this season. Wätjen may struggle as a defensive midfielder against top level sides but with the two remaining matches against relegation battling Mainz and Darmstadt; Wätjen’s distribution should be good enough to deal with both.