Back in the summer when Julian Brandt’s move to Borussia Dortmund was announced, the excitement levels were sky high. The anticipation of one of German football’s most promising talents joining a genuine title contender gave many fans a sense that BVB were getting closer to Bayern.
As we take stock at the second international break of the season and with seven league games played, it is as though the Julian Brandt balloon has had all the air let out. The excitement and anticipation of his initial move have given way to a sense of anti-climax and confusion.
Against Argentina, Brandt was in the starting XI for Germany and played the whole 90 minutes of the Nationalmannschaft’s 2-2 draw, but at Dortmund he has had to resign himself to a purely back-up role thus far.
This is not the situation the 23-year-old would have imagined as he sat down to sign his contract with Michael Zorc and Hans-Joachim Watzke in the summer.
So far this season Brandt has appeared in every Bundesliga match, but has only been in the starting line-up twice (against Union Berlin and former club Bayer Leverkusen). He has scored once on the opening day victory over Augsburg. He has been reduced to the role of an impact substitute.
Coach Lucien Favre has so far favoured a 4-2-3-1 formation with Thorgan Hazard on the left, Marco Reus in the middle and Jadon Sancho on the right behind striker Paco Alcacer. On matchday 7, with Favre opting to rest Sancho, Brandt was still only on the bench with Achraf Hakimi favoured as the attacking midfielder. He was introduced early on following an injury to Lukasz Piszczek, but then he himself was substituted in the 87th minute.
“It’s difficult, that’s clear” Brandt explained following the 2-2 draw with the Breisgauer. “You sit on the bench a lot and only come on for short periods of time. Then you’ll play 90 minutes only to maybe find yourself on the bench again.”
“The coach has his reasons for lining up the way he does. I didn’t want to talk to him about it. I’m not above the team, so it was all right” he added.
It is a situation that is far from perfect and far removed from last season at Leverkusen where he really blossomed under Peter Bosz in the central attacking role in the Werkself’s line-up scoring 7 goals and providing 15 assists.
So far at the Signal Iduna Park, he has not been given the chance to shine and reprise the form of last season.
“I have patience with myself and also with the club. It’s not like I have no confidence” he told Bild this week. “I believe that my time will come and that one has the feeling that I have really arrived now. Not every beginning is perfect, and that’s what I’m learning at the moment. But I’m not one to let myself down.
“It’s important that I make the breakthrough and score again. That would be good for me. Sometimes it’s crazy in football. When you score, the spell is broken, and suddenly many things are working again.”
Dortmund are not exactly enjoying a sparkling start to the season with many questions being asked of them following dropped points against Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt and SC Freiburg as well as their earlier loss to Union Berlin.
One of those questions surely must be- when is Lucien Favre going to give Julian Brandt the opportunity to do his thing?
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