The rise of Julian Ryerson: Borussia Dortmund’s most underrated player

Arriving as a defensive reinforcement at a bargain price, Julian Ryerson has become an important member of the BVB squad, and we should expect to see him a new contract soon.
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League Final 2023/24
Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League Final 2023/24 / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages
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Julian Ryerson's rise at Union Berlin prompted Borussia Dortmund to sign him

The fee was meager by transfer standards, just 150,000 euros in 2018. Julian Ryerson had to wait for his chance, however, as he spent much of his first season with Union on the bench, playing only eight matches as they secured promotion to the Bundesliga for the first time in their history.

But the Norwegian’s signature proved to be an important one, as Ryerson played an instrumental role in Union’s Bundesliga squad, helping them qualify for European competition for the first time in their history in the 2019-20 campaign.

The following season, Julian Ryerson made his European scoring debut in the Europa Conference League, in a group stage win over Maccabi Haifa. Union Berlin would not advance out of the group stage, but domestically, they were becoming Bundesliga heavyweights with Ryerson a regular starter. The capital club finished fifth place that season, just a point behind RB Leipzig.

It was enough to qualify for the Europa League the following season, giving Ryerson a new European competition to experience and learn from. Yet, Julian Ryerson wouldn’t remain in the Europa League for the entirety of the 2022-23 season, as a certain Champions League side came calling.

Julian Ryerson didn’t attend a prestigious academy, and he’s not an outspoken individual. He’s the product of the Viking Stravanger Academy in his native Norway. His parents weren’t famous footballers and the media didn’t label him a prodigy from a young age. It’s easy to see how a player with the quality of Ryerson flew under the radar for so long. After impressing at Union Berlin, Ryerson joined Borussia Dortmund where he has solidified himself as a reliable starter with the tenacity required to lead the way in defence, get stuck in, and be a difference maker. And he only cost the club a transfer fee of five million euros.

Ryerson was supposed to add depth to the Borussia Dortmund squad, but the Norwegian defender usurped the position as a preferred starter under Edin Terzic.

In fact, Ryerson was such a cut above that the BVB bosses were comfortable in allowing Thomas Meunier to leave last summer. He became an even more important member of the squad last season, making 27 league appearances and another ten in the UEFA Champions League, including a start in the final against Real Madrid.

His versatility has impressed, as Ryerson can play on either side of the pitch and he’s able to make the occasional sprint into the final third. Who can forget that goal against Bayern Munich or his stunning run against Hoffenheim!