Borussia Dortmund continue to enhance their reputation as one of Europe’s best run clubs, the German side remaining challengers both at home and abroad on the back of their investment in and development of young talent.
The club remain challengers for major honours despite a comparatively modest spend, their record signing – the return of Mats Hummels from Bayern Munich last summer – less than the transfer records of 13 Premier League clubs.
Investing in potential has instead proven hugely beneficial to the club’s success in recent years, and we’ve decided to assess the impact of five of Borussia Dortmund’s current rising stars:
Erling Braut Haaland
The club’s most recent eye-catching signing and a player that has taken Europe by storm this season, Haaland’s emergence has been one of the stories of the campaign so far following his prolific goalscoring exploits.
The Norwegian burst onto the scene during Red Bull Salzburg’s Champions League group stage campaign, scoring a hat-trick on his debut in the competition before becoming the first teenager to score in their first five consecutive fixtures.
Europe’s elite would all take note of a player who hit 28 goals in all competitions over the first half of the season for the Austrian champions, but it would be Dortmund who would win the race to secure his signature during the January transfer window.
Any doubts surrounding Haaland’s ability to step up a level have been dismissed in breathtaking style following his move to Germany, the 19-year-old scoring a debut hat-trick in just 23 minutes after coming on as a substitute against Augsburg.
From there the goals have continued to flow at a rapid rate, Haaland scoring 12 times in just 10 appearances for Dortmund, including both goals in their 2-1 first-leg victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last-16.
Haaland’s impact has been nothing short of sensational and Dortmund look to have acquired a player with a huge future in the game, the reported fee of €22.5m an undoubted bargain in the modern transfer market.
Arguably the jewel in Dortmund’s crown at present, Sancho has flourished into one of the most exciting young talents in world football since opting to leave Manchester City for the Bundesliga three years ago.
The move has proven to be an inspired one by the teenager who has taken his game to new heights with regular first-team football, establishing himself as a star of German football and as a senior England international.
Sancho offers an eclectic mix of skill, showmanship and devastating end product, his statistical output improving season upon season and reaching new levels during the current campaign.
The 19-year-old has scored 14 Bundesliga goals in addition to providing a further 15 assists, with only Kevin De Bruyne and Thomas Muller having registered more assists over Europe’s top five leagues.
Dortmund have acknowledged it will be difficult to retain his services beyond the end of the season amid interest from the Premier League, though any deal to sign the teenager will likely exceed £100m.
Even at that lavish cost, Sancho looks worth the money and a potentially generational talent.
Another player flourishing courtesy of regular first-team football in Dortmund colours, Moroccan international Hakimi is currently in the second of a two-season loan in the Bundesliga from Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The versatile full-back is comfortable on either side or operating further forward, but it is as a right-wing back where he has shone for Lucien Favre’s side this season, scoring seven goals and providing a further ten assists in all competitions.
Hakimi is blessed with electric pace – his 36.2kph clocked earlier this season the fastest ever recorded in the Bundesliga – and is never shy in joining the attack, surging into dangerous positions and providing composure in the final third when called upon.
The 21-year-old’s long term future remains uncertain despite admitting the move to Dortmund was the best decision for his career, though says a return to the Bernabeu remains an option should Zinedine Zidane want to welcome him back to the Spanish capital.
A player long tipped for the top following his emergence at Bayer Leverkusen via the Wolfsburg academy, Brandt made the move to divisional rivals Dortmund last summer in a bid to elevate his game.
Initially seen as a winger, a switch to a central role paid dividends at Leverkusen last term, and it is a tactic Dortmund have copied after an initial slow start featuring mainly from the substitutes bench or out wide.
The move has proven to be a positive one for Dortmund, the 23-year-old growing in influence and becoming increasingly effective in partnership with captain Marcos Reus – a player many view Brandt as the long term replacement for.
Like Brandt, Reus began playing wide before thriving in a central role and the 30-year-old is the ideal mentor to help further develop the youngster’s game in the coming seasons.
Brandt’s tally of seven goals and five assists in all competitions may seem a modest total, but his importance can not be understated with stats only telling half the story, his creative influence behind the forwards vital to Lucien Favre’s title challengers.
Could Gio Reyna be the latest breakthrough star in the Dortmund ranks?
The precociously talented teenager has drawn headlines during his fleeting first-team appearances since the winter break, coming off the bench to provide an assist for Erling Haaland during the club’s Champions League last-16 first-leg win over French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Reyna, son of former US internationals Claudio Reyna and Danielle Egan Reyna, came through the ranks at New York City before moving to Germany last year and after impressing in the youth ranks has been handed an opportunity in the first-team.
Despite only turning 17-years-old in November, the Sunderland-born youngster opened his BVB account with a stunning goal against Werder Bremen last month in addition to his Champions League intervention.
Possessing sublime dribbling skills and an ability to thread a killer pass at pace, Reyna is one to watch for the future and has been likened in style to Brazilian great Kaka, the playmaker looking likely to be the latest young star off the Dortmund conveyor belt of talent.