When Julian Weigl left Dortmund during the 2019-2020 Winterpause, he had fallen out of favor with then-coach Lucien Favre and found himself in need of a new team where he could get regular time on the pitch. Despite his 170+ appearances for the club and his defensive prowess he was no longer a BVB darling. Something had to give.
Enter S.L. Benfica and the potential for opportunity. He joined the squad in the second half of the season and his future seemed promising. His time with Benfica spanned four seasons where he clocked in 77 league appearances, was named as the club’s Player of the Season following his first full campaign, scored three goals (he netted the same over five seasons with Dortmund!), three assists and even earned his first call up to Die Mannschaft in five years!
The nature of the sport, however, is change and fluidity and with the end of the 2021-2022 season came the onboarding of a new head coach at Benfica. One never knows where they will fall within the pecking order under a new head coach as nothing is ever a guarantee. Benfica’s head coach took the form of someone familiar to Bundesliga fans, Roger Schmidt. Weigl’s assessment was that Schmidt’s plan left no place for him in the squad with Schmidt seeming to support a change in teams for the defensive midfielder.
After rumors and speculation about where Weigl would land, it was announced that Benfica agreed to terms for a season-long loan with Borussia...Mönchengladbach! Now a Foal (and the most expensive one at that), he’s back in the Bundesliga (where he belongs) and this writer is excited to see what he can do, even if it is for the other Borussia.
Is there a former BVB player you’d like to catch up with? Drop a comment below!