Good morning, everyone! Happy Monday, and Happy New Year!
Who needs center backs anyway
Borussia Dortmund’s injury troubles have been well-chronicled this season. It seems like every single day, a new report has emerged of a positive COVID test, a pulled hamstring, or a setback in someone’s rehabilitation. You may have been relieved at the arrival of the Winterpause: a four-week period without play to allow the squad to recover and prepare for the second half of the season.
You could be forgiven for thinking that. Unfortunately, though, it seems that even after the Winterpause, Dortmund will not be at full strength, at least not at first. Manuel Akanji, who had a “minor” knee surgery in December, has not yet fully recovered, and will therefore miss next weekend’s game against Eintracht Frankfurt.
If missing one center back was bad enough, then missing two is quite the blow. Dan-Axel Zagadou, who only just returned to the squad following his knee injury, has now tested positive for COVID-19. According to Ruhr Nachrichten, he is currently quarantining in Qatar, where he was staying over the winter break, and will therefore not be able to play against Frankfurt.
Without Zagadou or Akanji, BVB will have to form a back line out of Marin Pongracic, Mats Hummels, and/or Axel Witsel, assuming all three players manage to stay healthy for a week. Given how BVB’s last makeshift backline fared against Hertha Berlin, the results could be disastrous.
Augsburg Sign Ricardo Pepi
You know, it’s not often that I write about FC Augsburg’s transfer activity, but today marks a rare exception. That’s because Augsburg made a very surprising splash signing, when they purchased young USMNT striker Ricardo Pepi for a pretty impressive fee of €16 million.
The fee might come as a surprise, but it’s worth nothing that Augsburg do have a partial owner with a lot of money, the American billionaire David Blitzer. Blitzer owns multiple franchises in the United States and Europe including the Philadelphia 76ers, Crystal Palace, and my favorite NHL team, the New Jersey Devils. Now, to compliment their American owner, they’ve signed one of the USMNT’s most promising youngsters. Along with Gio Reyna, Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Tyler Adams, Pepi is only the latest American to choose the Bundesliga as a league to develop into the European game.
The Daily Buzz
What’s your New Years Resolution?