Twenty-four-year old German national team midfielder Julian Brandt surprised many with an exceptional performance in the ten spot for Dortmund over the weekend.
Could this be the beginning of an exiled talent's return to the starting XI?
|Julian Brandt.||Photo: Marco Verch, CC BY-SA 2.0|
Seventeen-year-old Jude Bellingham appeared to have pushed the only recently-acquired Julian Brandt out of Lucien Favre's lineup. Yet, it was not Bellingham who took to the field in either last weekend's 1-0 victory over Hoffenheim or this round's 3-0 thrashing of Schalke in the Revierderby.
Favre gave his favored young prodigy a rest in favor of a more seasoned player. Brandt's roles were markedly different in both fixtures. In round four, he appeared to function as a false-nine. In the subsequent match, he worked as a clear ten.
In a recent interview with German footballing magazine Kicker, Brandt disclosed that he doesn't necessarily care for strict positioning assignments. "If a trainer came to me and said, 'stay in that exact position and play in accordance with the procedures and patterns' I'd be horror-stricken." Brandt noted.
He also noted that Favre doesn't communicate with him in such a fashion. "Our coach has gotten to the point where he comes to me and says 'that's your position, but roam around where you want to'," Brandt noted, "So naturally, I'll go on the offensive!"
Brandt earned praise from BVB sporting director Michael Zorc as well after his performance against Schalke. Zorc told Germany's Westallgemeine Zeitung, "I really liked Julian Brandt. He stepped up and drove the game in the right direction. This was a very positive step forward."
Favre has indicated that he plans to rest Bellingham in the Champions League fixture against Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday. A surging player who earned team-of-the week honors might get another opportunity to capitalize on his upwards form.