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Erik Durm In Attack: Could It Work?

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Thomas Tuchel surprised us all by starting fullback Erik Durm on the left wing against VfB Stuttgart. Erik Durm surprised us even more by playing well. Could he become a reliable player for us in attack?

Erik Durm in action during Tuesday's 3-1 win over Stuttgart
Erik Durm in action during Tuesday's 3-1 win over Stuttgart
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

When the line-ups came out for the Stuttgart-Dortmund DFB Pokal match, Erik Durm's name caught most people's eye. Not because he was in the line-up, which isn't unusual, but because of where he was going to play. With Lukasz Piszczek and Marcel Schmelzer both listed in the line-up as well, we knew Durm wasn't going to be playing full back.

It was a bold choice by manager Thomas Tuchel to give Erik Durm the chance on the wing. He could've gone with impressive teenager Christian Pulisic or one of the veterans in Adrian Ramos and Gonzalo Castro. The decision proved to be a wise one, as Erik Durm performed quite well in what was his first start in an attacking position for the club. He did well to link up with Henrik Mkhitaryan on a few occasions; even one where Marco Reus missed a glorious chance to put us 2-1 up, and earned himself a solid 7 in our post match player ratings.

This obviously isn't the first time Durm's ever played in an attacking role, though. In Durm's time at Mainz, he was a striker. With the Mainz U19's and the Mainz II team, he played 58 games and scored a total of 29 goals. When he made the move to Dortmund, Klopp liked him more as a full back with the ability to play on both flanks. Klopp was not wrong, as Durm's move to full back has seen him become a contributing member of the Borussia Dortmund squad.

Due to Dortmund's lack of attacking depth, it makes sense for Thomas Tuchel to give Erik Durm a chance to prove himself as an attacker. Durm isn't very likely to take away many minutes from Marcel Schmelzer or Lukasz Piszczek, so it's not a bad idea to play him as an attacker. If yesterday's game is of any indication, then he might not be a bad guy to rotate in for one of our stars every once in a while.

As a right footed player who's able to play on both flanks, Durm makes himself quite a useful prospect. He could fill in on the left or the right, wherever needed. He's enjoyed some of his better full back performances as a right back, but has spent most of his time at Dortmund as a left back, and played on the left wing against Stuttgart.

Adrian Ramos and Christian Pulisic are the two other players who you could call his competition for an attacking spot. Tuchel's much more likely to trust Erik Durm in attack rather than the teenage Pulisic, considering he actually has some Bundesliga experience under his belt. However, Ramos has the experience edge, but not really the talent edge. Ramos got his chance to play on the wing against Ingolstadt, and it went quite horrifically. That's not to say he won't get another chance or that he can't make himself useful, but Durm is likely going to benefit from Ramos' poor impression he left on Tuchel.

Erik Durm's future at Borussia Dortmund is almost certainly at full back, but right now, his best chance at making the line-up would be in attack. Durm's earned himself another chance to play on the left wing again, and it wouldn't be too surprising if we see him out there this weekend against Hannover. He has a real opportunity to prove his versatility and, while maybe not a starter, he can become an influential player off the bench and for rotational purposes as an attacker. Most importantly, his performance against Stuttgart helped ease the concern about a lack of depth after an empty January transfer window.