Matthias Ginter joined Borussia Dortmund from SC Freiburg in 2014 with the plan being that he would one day replace Mats Hummels. At that time he was one of Germany's biggest youth prospects, having won two Fritz Walter gold medals (an award for the best young talents in Germany) in a row and had two full Bundesliga seasons under his belt playing for Freiburg at the age of 20. He impressed so much early on in his career that he was nominated for the German national team that infamously won the 2014 World Cup, albeit he did not play during the tournament.
Fast forward two years, it's the summer of 2016 and the moment has finally come, the captain (painfully) left the ship but his first mate was nowhere to be found. This was supposed to be Ginters big moment but somehow he never really entered the discussion of heir apparent. Instead BVB unsuccessfully tried to pry away Ömer Toprak from Leverkusen (which might still happen) and then settled for Marc Bartra from Barcelona.
Tuchel just doesn't really see him as the BVB center-back of the future and he's not entirely wrong with that assessment. If it weren't for a slew of injuries to all possible CBs it is extremely doubtful that Ginter would have seen the pitch as much as he did this season. While he has undoubtedly improved over recent weeks he has also been one of the reasons why the backline has been so shaky. Sure, it's obviously not just his fault but then again his presence also didn't help.
It is somewhat peculiar that a club that is by now famous for developing young talents could not hone the skills of one of the biggest talents it ever got. On the contrary you could make a very compelling case that the young German has regressed as a center-back since joining the black and yellows.
So with all this negativity, do I think Ginter has a future at the club? Absolutely. Just not as a center-back. In fact he should be our starting right-back.
The 22-year old defender has had his best games for Dortmund as a RB. He played 24 games at the position for BVB, winning 17, drawing 3 and losing 4. Even more impressive than the teams performance with him at RB is his personal statline in those games. Ginter managed to score 3 goals and amass 11(!) assists in those 24 games.
That's a ridiculous number for a right-back. Just to put it into perspective, in the 15/16 Bundesliga season 11 assists would have put him in fourth place for the entire season and he did it in 24 games.
The reason for this flood of assists is very simple, his crosses are amazing. Not a single player on the entire roster is as good as he is in that particular category, not Schmelzer, not Piszczek and not even our wingers like Schürrle, Reus or Dembélé. His assist in the Sporting game was once again proof of his skills. His cross that set up Ramos's game winner was perfect.
In addition Ginter has pretty good technique for a defender and his passing skills are also above average. Those things were never the problem at CB but he also could never really use them at that position, instead in the center of the defense his biggest weaknesses were exposed. His positioning and awareness are subpar. At center-back he was very often caught out of position which either meant he started the duel with the opponent at a significant disadvantage or he couldn't even get into the duel because the striker was already on his way to another goal. The one-on-one defending was never really the problem, he is capable of winning those on defense and even of shutting opponents out for an entire game. That's exactly why he is better as a right back, his weaknesses can be covered up as opposed to being exposed and exploited in the center.
His biggest rival for the starting spot is obviously Lukasz Piszczek who has been the starting RB since 2010. He is still a decent right back but the Polish international seems to have lost a step, which is normal considering his work-rate over the last few years and his recent injury history. However "Pischu" has toned down his runs up the pitch that were his trademark during the Klopp-heydays. Nowadays the 31 year old defender often stays a bit further back in fear of exposing the right flank and not being fast enough anymore to get back in time, which essentially robs the team of an additional support player on offense.
Piszczek is definitely still a starting caliber player but at this point Ginter is not only the future but he also should be the present.