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What André Schürrle’s Arrival Means for Dortmund’s Attack

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Goals and goals and goals. And MORE Goals. And ANOTHER one.

Germany Training Session Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Apparently watching Die Mannschaft make a run to the semifinals of Euro 2016 with only one Dortmund player was too much for Zorc. He moved quickly to secure the signatures of German internationals Gotze and Schurrle. Regardless of what you may think of them, when we break our transfer record to sign one and splash €26 million for the other, they will start and play regularly in the Bundesliga and the Champions League. So what will Thomas “The Tactical Chameleon” Tuchel do with his new attacking weapons?

Among the Black and Yellow’s attacking players, four players are clear locks to start: Aubameyang, Reus, Gotze, and Schurrle. The first two because of the video below.

The latter two because of their transfer fees. In the preseason Tuchel has mostly lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Assuming we start the season against Mainz in a similar setup, it’s clear the Batman will start up top. The three behind him though are much less clear.

Schurrle is the least versatile player in the remaining trio. Throughout his career he’s played almost exclusively as a left winger. He isn’t technical enough to play as a CAM and has had little success on the right side. In fact according to Transfermarkt, he’s never scored as a right winger. Furthermore, based on Tuchel’s time at Mainz, it’s obvious he sees Schurrle as a left-sided specialist. Thomas played Andre on the right only four times in 68 appearances.

That leaves Reus and Gotze. Both are able to play through the middle and on the right. Gotze spent much of his Bayern stint out wide, while Reus prefers to cut in from the wing regardless.

If we learned anything tactically from the prodigal son’s Bayern disaster, it’s that he was a horrible right winger. He often looked lost on the touchline, which was exacerbated by injuries and a lack of fitness that sucked up his speed. While it is true Tuchel’s system relies on fullbacks to provide width, it seems foolish to repeat a failed experiment. Playing Gotze centrally like our Meisterschale winning Klopp teams relegates Reus to the right wing. The former Gladbach man played on the right for 446 minutes in the Bundesliga last season, so Tuchel clearly trusts him there.

As BVB showed throughout last season, the attacking three behind Aubameyang are extremely fluid with wide players cutting in and central players moving towards the touchlines. Indeed in a 4-2-3-1 there could be times where Marco and Mario appear to be switching positions outright.

In Shanghai we got a glimpse of Tuchel’s tactics board and it wasn’t the 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 hybrid we’ve come to expect. Instead, almost anticipating his surplus of attacking resources, he drew up a 3-2-4-1.

By drew, I really mean create a Frankenstein like monster to rip opposing defenses to shreds.

In this setup, we’ll still see Andre Schurrle on the left wing because that’s the only position he can play. Reus slots into the left attacking mid position which is a better fit for his strengths than being a right winger. Here, Marco will be able to make his signature cuts into the middle of the field and overlap with Schurrle along the left touchline.

Next to Marco, the returning Gotze retains his best position, the CAM. The remaining right wing position likely goes to Dembele. He came into summer training as the most developed and arguably most talented youngster. He’s only corroborated that perception. That leaves other prodigies like Emre Mor and Christian Pulisic along with our resident samurai Shinji Kagawa as impact offensive subs.

No matter how we line up, our embarrassment of offensive riches will score in bunches as we push for trophies on three fronts.

What do you think our attack will look like with Gotze and Schurrle starting? Inverted 11? Weidenfeller at striker? Tell us in the comments!