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Is Karim Adeyemi Worse Now Than He Was Last Year?

Borussia Dortmund v AC Milan: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

There’s no questioning that at the end of the 22/23 season, Borussia Dortmund’s attack was hot, REAL hot. Dortmund were scoring goals for fun and the entire front line of Malen, Haller, and Adeyemi were involved. While still early, this season has been starkly different, with Haller short on form and fitness and Adeyemi looking downright dreadful. Fans have been quick to point out his lack of incisive ability, regularly losing the ball or missing obvious opportunities to spread the ball to teammates. Still, it was not that long ago that Adeyemi was similarly struggling for form. When the German international signed for BVB, his first four months were not the smooth sailing he would have hoped for. Yes, after a year with the team, one might not expect Adeyemi to regress to such paltry performances, but let’s be realistic; is his current run of form any worse than when he joined, and what does that indicate?

Going into this international break, Adeyemi has recorded no goals or assists in about 315 minutes of football (FBref). In the 2022/23 season, Adeyemi did not break duck in the Bundesliga until Matchday 18, when he notched his first goal against Leverkusen. He did manage a goal against lowly 1860 Munich in the cup, and one against Sevilla in the UCL, but even that goal did not come until October 5th. An assist took a full few months, with his first tee-up finding Jude Bellingham on Matchday 16. To this point, he has also been afforded almost the exact same amount of minutes; at this stage last season, Adeyemi had played about 310 minutes of match action.

Borussia Dortmund v AC Milan: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Hendrik Deckers/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images

So time on and the field and contributions are about the same as a year ago. Up until his goal against Sevilla, he was also clocking an average xG of about 0.175 (looking at games where he had at least 30 minutes), and this season he is sitting around 0.2. So expected goals also looks about the same. Pass completion, same story. About 80% on average in both seasons up to the beginning of October.

Alright, I’m not the stats guy around here, that’s Paul, so let’s leave that business to him. The ultimate point is, Adeyemi had a hot streak to end the 2022/23 season, no doubt. But a year into his tenure at Dortmund, expecting him to be an reliable all-star may have been premature. Look at his counterpart Donyell Malen. Recently the tabloids published that Dortmund would need an offer of over €60 million to consider selling him; 12 months ago, we would have been lucky to break 20. Malen has shown that in some instances, what’s needed is patience and time.

Adeyemi, for his part, is taking the situation seriously. Between extra sessions at the training ground and having the humility to return to Germany’s U21 team, he is taking the right steps to be available when the team needs him and get back to the form he showed in the spring.

What Adeyemi needs now is to find some normalcy. Slowly work his way back into the lineup and produce stable performances to smooth out his form curve. The stats show he is not doomed to failure or way worse than last year, he’s just back in a bad run of form, which he has escaped before. Dortmund prides itself in the development of young talent, and has received some criticism from fans this year for not bringing more in. Well, if you want young talent, this is the other side of it. Adeyemi needs to do what he came to BVB for: develop. Form dips and uneven performances are a part of the process. Given the raw talent and physical ability he has shown in Dortmund and Salzburg, there’s plenty of reason to believe he will kick on soon and continue to impress for BVB.