In the 28th minute of Borussia Dortmund’s match against RB Leipzig, Axel Witsel made the slightest of movements to collect a loose ball, and the Belgian immediately crumpled to the turf in pain. He needed to be carried off the pitch, unable to put any weight on his injured ankle. Dortmund would go on to win 3-1 over Leipzig, and Erling Haaland even did Axel’s trademark goal celebration after scoring his first goal.
On the replay, Patrick Owomoyela believed that it was a torn Achilles due to the lack of contact and that he was clutching his ankle. In a post-match interview with RN, captain Marco Reus believed the injury to be a significant one. And today, a diagnosis all but confirmed the worst: a torn Achilles tendon that will need surgery and keep him out for a significant amount of time.
Unfortunate news. Axel Witsel suffered a torn Achilles tendon during yesterday’s match and will be out for an extended period of time.— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) January 10, 2021
We all wish Axel a speedy and successful recovery pic.twitter.com/vTsdzEHzZQ
His absence, from a playing and leadership perspective, will be a huge blow to Dortmund moving forward. Since arriving from Tianjin Quanjian in 2018, Witsel has been a rock in Dortmund’s central midfield with 102 total matches played. He has seen action in all but two matches for Dortmund this season, signifying his importance to the club despite his dip in form.
Witsel’s injury leaves Dortmund a little thin at central midfield depth. Thomas Delaney, Emre Can, Jude Bellingham, Julian Brandt, and Mahmoud Dahoud are all options at the position. It looks like Can can slot right into Witsel’s spot, so it’s not all doom and gloom, but Witsel will still be missed.
Get well soon, Axel!