Happy Monday, everyone! Well, happy for everyone but Mahmoud Dahoud. As Dortmund put on a mature performance against Werder Bremen over the weekend, the
greatest midfielder on the planet midfielder only featured for a small two-minute cameo. In fact, Dahoud has only played 14 minutes since the season resumed despite returning to full fitness during the World Cup offseason and missed the squad against Leverkusen entireley. So, what’s going on with Mahmoud Dahoud?
All indications pointed to Dahoud having a fantastic season. In the 2020/2021 season, Dahoud became irreplaceable after Terzic took over and helped lead the team to a DFB Pokal title. Last season, he started 20 games for Dortmund, his best for the club, and did a terrific job alongside Jude Bellingham. This season he began with three starts where he proved to be vital in the first two and injured his shoulder, resulting in a three-month injury, in the third. This injury couldn't have come at a worse time for Dahoud but during his absence, neither Ozcan or Can solidified themselves as the starting midfielder alongside Bellingham and Brandt. So, what gives?
Well, the most important issue is the lost match fitness for Dahoud. He spent 3 months sidelined and Terzic deemed him lacking enough sharpness to start the game against Augsburg or Mainz, which saw Can and Ozcan both stake their claim for that starting spot with the former being the most impressive of the two. It’s hard to change a winning formula as a coach and Can has played an important role for Borussia Dortmund’s revitalized start to 2023. The next ‘issue’ is the return of Marco Reus and the Brandtaissance. Julian Brandt is currently undroppable from Dortmund and has taken up the mantle of ‘creator in chief’ for the side. In prior seasons, Bellingham and Dahoud split this task between them and Dahoud was unmatched in his ability to progress the ball from the defense third into the final third. Now, Brandt is tasked with picking the ball up at the halfway line and finding one of Dortmund’s many in-form attackers. Equally important, is the return of Marco Reus who can fulfill this task when Brandt needs rest or play alongside his German counterpart, pushing him further wide. What’s needed in Terzic’s system isn’t a Mahmoud Dahoud-style midfielder who links the two ends of the pitch together, what’s needed is an all-action destroyer who cleans up attacks if Brandt or Bellingham turns over the ball. That’s the role Emre Can and Salih Ozcan have been playing.
It’s increasingly looking like Mahmoud Dahoud might not have a role in Borussia Dortmund after this season. With only 5 months left on his contract and an emphasis placed on playing time during his last round of contract talks, it wouldn’t be surprising if Dahoud is moved on from the team. I’d also argue that it’s equally possible that the German returns to starting lineup in a more defensive approach for Terzic against stronger sides. Sides like Chelsea (Feb. 15, March 7), RB Leipzig (March 3), and Bayern Munich (April 1st). In these games it may be worthwhile to push Brandt out wide and have Dahoud, Can/Ozcan, and Bellingham as the midfield three. Regardless, it’ll be a pivotal month for Mahmoud Dahoud.
So, is it time to worry? For the average fan; No. Dortmund are still on a 6 game-unbeaten streak and have continued to impress even without Dahoud. For me, the self-proclaimed leader of the Mahmoud Dahoud fan club? I’m absolutely terrified.
- Brandt’s contract talks look set to begin this summer. He does not want contracts to get in the way of his focus for this season and, with his form, I can’t blame him.
- Moukoko could be out several weeks after his injury against Bremen on Saturday.
The Daily Bee
Do you think Dahoud has a future in black and yellow? If so, what does that future look like?