Some phenomenal players have donned the yellow and black for BVB over the past several years, but one of the more entertaining features of many Dortmund lineups has been the advent of the superfriendship. Secret handshakes, coordinated celebrations, and enduring kinship that even survives transfers and distance have become a special part of the BVB lore: the rag-tag world beaters who rose out of obscurity and financial hell through youth, brilliant coaching minds, and an unconquerable belief in the club, spreading from the vibrant fans of Westfalenstadion into the players and staff. During this resurgence, Dortmund's brightest stars gravitated towards each other, and formed bonds on and off the pitch that became a staple of the club.
It's not a stretch to say that the back to back league titles and DFB Pokal victory from 2011 to 2013 were almost literally built on the back of Robert Lewandowski. The lanky Polish striker exploded for goals, goals, and more goals, and after Marco Reus rejoined the club from 'Gladbach in 2012, the two had a special connection on and off the pitch. Even when Lewandowski eventually moved on to Bayern, the two remained close, as demonstrated in this adorable video.
But Reus did find a new partner in crime post-Lewy in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The two speedsters have led the attack for BVB the last two seasons, frequently assisting one another and in general forming a lightning-quick partnership. The two have even pulled out one of the more memorable celebrations in recent years when they donned their Batman and Robin masks after Aubameyang's goal against Schalke last season,
But as young as both Reus and Aubameyang are, you can't help but wonder who the next super-duo BVB will be. To this search, I humbly submit youngsters Felix Passlack and Christian Pulisic.
You've obviously heard the buzz about the two by now, no small part of which has been propagated by this very blog. Both Pulisic and Passlack received 45 minutes of playing time in the first team's friendly against Eintracht earlier this week, with Passlack handling defensive duties quite well at left back and Pulisic notching an assist in the second half. What's more, Passlack is a more natural midfielder, and Pulisic could've easily ended the game with three assists (one from the left flank in which Adrian Ramos scuffed an open look at goal, and another on a delightful entry pass to Gonzalo Castro in which Castro deftly chipped the keeper, only for his goal to be called back for offsides). Clearly, the two seventeen year olds have talent, as if that wasn't already apparent from their promotion to regular first team training at such a young age.
The two have also apparently checked off the "Best Friends" requirement for inclusion in this list as well, despite following very different paths to the first team. Passlack has been on the books for a quite a while now, joining the club nearly four years ago and moving up the ranks in the academy ever since, all the while contributing to Germany's youth program as well. Pulisic, on the other hand, only signed with BVB last year after impressing with United States youth teams. The Pennsylvania native obtained a Croatian passport (by way of his grandfather), which allowed him to bypass European Union rules that would have otherwise prevented him from signing with BVB (who he trained with several times before actually signing) and jumped straight into the U17 team where Passlack also happened to be playing. Despite not having spent a relatively great amount of time together, the pair's social media presence indicates a quick bond formed between the two, as pictures soon surfaced of everything from celebrating the U17 championship together, to Passlack wearing Pulisic's national team shirt, to the pair goofing around on the way to training in Dubai just a few weeks ago.
The hype is real and the burgeoning bromance is adorable. Can they be the next feature in BVB's Hall of Superfriends? Another friendly against Korean powerhouse Jeonbuk in Dubai gave us another glimpse of the two in action (this time with Pulisic netting a goal), and time will tell if either of the two will make their full Bundesliga debut in a season where our midfield is a bit more depleted than usual. But, at seventeen, the two can afford to be patient. And after all, if the two can keep playing like this, it will only be a matter of time before they become fixtures in the first team.