Peter Bosz’s hiring after former manager Thomas Tuchel’s falling out with the Dortmund hierarchy has signaled the beginning of a new era for the Dortmund youth. And while some Tuchel loyalists still argue that the Tuchel era was too shortlived, the fact remains that Dortmund must now be ready to work under their new Bosz.
As with any managerial change, there comes a great deal of speculation surrounding how the team will line up next season, which Dortmund youth players will emerge, which players will see more play time, and which players may be downgraded in their role or even leave the club. Under Tuchel, this meant that former mainstays such as Neven Subotić left as loanees and fan favorites like Shinji Kagawa and Erik Durm saw decreased roles from what they had seen under Jürgen Klopp. Will these players see a return to their former roles under Bosz?
One of the main questions surrounding the new regime is what will happen to Christian Pulisic and other Dortmund youth who saw playing time last season under Thomas Tuchel. Players like Pulisic, full-back Felix Passlack, recently called up Danish attacking midfielder Jacob Bruun Larsen, Turkish winger Emre Mor, and new signing Dan-Axel Zagadou are all under the age of 20 and look to get some first-team experience this upcoming season.
What Bosz’s arrival will mean for Dortmund Youth…
Starting with Christian Pulisic, the American has proven himself capable of not only filling a starting role for the team during Marco Reus’s lengthy injury spell, but also of being an instant impact sub to inject a dose of energy into the side in the second half with his high work-rate. Pulisic played more than any other Dortmund youngster last season, outside of Ousmane Dembele, and drew more penalties than the rest of the team combined throughout the season. The Hershey, Pennsylvania also tallied 5 goals and 9 assists over 41 appearances last season in all competitions.
Pulisic has done well in the 4-3-3 system that Bosz has employed at Dortmund as a carryover from his Ajax job. So far, in 4 friendlies, Pulisic has tallied two assists and drawn a penalty that led to a goal in a friendly against AC Milan and has scored an impressive (although maybe unintentional?) goal off of his chest to tie VfL Bochum in the last 5 minutes of the game. Pulisic looks even more mature and confident on the ball this season than he did last season, constantly making runs into dangerous positions and taking shots or flashing crosses across the box to teammates.
Even with the purchase of “Marco Reus’ Injury Replacement” Maximillian Philipp, it seems that the new Bosz will be relying heavily on Christian Pulisic. With Marco Reus out until early 2018, and other injuries to players like Julian Weigl and Raphael Guerreiro leaving them out of the squad until September and October, respectively, one has to think that Bosz is eager to put Christian Pulisic into a starting role until Reus’ return. Even if he splits starts with Philipp, Pulisic fans can safely assume that he will see a lot of playtime this season, especially in the first half of the year.
Felix Passlack will likely see a bit more playing time this season as Bosz seems keen to focus on youth and to decrease the heavy burdens on veteran full-backs Marcel Schmelzer and Lukasz Piszczek. With Champions League and DFB Pokal games adding to the Bundesliga match schedule, don’t be surprised to see a rotation at right and left back, especially for league games against weaker opponents and early round cup games.
The same can be said for Dan-Axel Zagadou, who has been used as a full-back on the right side in many of Dortmund’s pre-season friendlies. Expect the young French defender to replace Piszczek if he is injured and to sub on to bolster the defense late in games.
Emre Mor has been linked with loan moves to Liverpool and a number of Turkish clubs during the summer, and with lots of depth ahead of him in his position, with players like Dembele, Reus, Pulisic, André Schürrle, and other talented players to split minutes with, his chances of getting playing time are unclear. He could be used in cup matches, but expect the talks of a loan deal to continue. Even with an impressive brace against Urawa Red Diamonds in a friendly, he will likely see usage primarily as a sub this season.
Lastly, recently promoted Jacob Bruun Larsen will also be called up to a team that features incredible depth in his position. The attacking midfielder will likely train with the team behind Mario Götze and Shinji Kagawa and will be on the squad primarily to train with the first team and learn under manager Peter Bosz. He could expect to see several appearances in the DFB Pokal, but will likely be managed very conservatively in his appearances this season.
Peter Bosz has shown a commitment to youth at Ajax that bodes well for the chances of the young players at Dortmund. Though he is inheriting a youthful team, Dortmund still has considerably more depth than Ajax that will make it less straightforward for Bosz to incorporate youth into first team matches. However, his preferred 4-3-3 formation will lead to some changing roles for established first team players that could result in more experimentation with the Dortmund youth at some of these positions.
We will have to wait until the start of the Bundesliga season to truly know what Bosz’s plans are…
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