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    Why Borussia Dortmund Are The Team Of The Future

    This week Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund stole the headlines after they announced the signing of Swedish young international striker Alexander Isak, who seemed destined for the Santiago Bernabeu.

    The 17 year-old striker has already been compared with national hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and is the record youngest goal scorer for the national team. It has indeed been a whirlwind month for Isak, who scored his first international goal against Slovakia on the 12th January, and was announced as a Dortmund player on the 23rd.

    He has excelled since establishing himself in the AIK first team, scoring ten goals in twenty-four games. This month he was strongly linked with a number of top European clubs, although up until late last weekend he seemed set for a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid. It seems things soon changed and once it was clear Dortmund were interested in the youngster, he quickly agreed to join the club, citing the importance of his development as a key factor behind the move.

    17 year-old Isak at his presentation as a Borussia Dortmund player. He has already earned a reputation as a rising star of the game. At Dortmund he will hope to make the next step up. Photo copyright Borussia Dortmund/Getty Images.


    This season has been a disappointing one for Dortmund's faithful so far, with the club well out of the title race and currently in fourth position. Whilst in the present moment things appear average, the future looks bright for this team. Manager Thomas Tuchel is known for being a great developer of young talent, and this is firmly becoming evident in his second season at the club.

    A lot of the recent changes in the squad have been with youth in mind. The previous generation such as Kevin Grobkreutz, Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have all departed, replaced by youngsters the team have either bought or promoted. The oldest player bought under the Tuchel regime was the 28 year-old Gonzalo Castro last season, with the majority of signings being talented teenagers.

    Along with Isak, the team have recently brought in the likes of defenders Raphael Gurreiro and Marc Bartra, midfielders Julian Weigl, Mikel Merino and Sebastian Rode and strikers Ousmane Dembele and Emre Mor. These are all players who have the potential to become very good players, and the team have been finding plenty of gems amongst their youth academy also.

    Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrating Dembele's first Bundesliga goal for Dortmund against Wolfsburg in September. Could this have been the first of many? Photo copyright Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund/Getty Images.


    Defenders Felix Passlack and Erik Durm along with midfielder Christian Pulisic have developed into first team players who are already making an impression at the Signal Iduna Park stadium. Pulisic and Passlack especially have developed into regular first team players, with both already being linked with big money moves away from the German club. Pulisic in particular has been the subject of several bids from former manager Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool team, but the 18 year-old American this week signed a contract extension with Dortmund through to 2020.

    A lot of these players are still in their development stages, therefore the team needs some experience to help nurture these players. That is likely one of the reasons the club have also recently signed the likes of former fan favourite Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle. Along with star players Marco Reus and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang the team already have plenty of talent. This allows the younger players to be allowed to develop fully without the pressure to instantly come in and deliver at the highest level.

    Some are already making their mark. Dembele has already scored four goals in sixteen games, with the likes of Pulisic, Bartra, Weigl and Passlack developing into first team players this season. In the coming seasons any one of their talented youngsters could also make the transition into key first team player, as their generation begins to fully develop.

    Young American winger Christian Pulisic celebrating scoring the opening goal against Hamburg in April 2016. He is currently on course to become a key component for Dortmund in the coming years. Photo copyright Getty Images/Patrik Stollarz.

    Developing players from promising talents to well rounded one's of high quality is something the German club has built it's recent reputation on. Ever since the Klopp revolution took hold this has been the clubs advantage over other prominent European clubs. Their ability to develop young players. The first wave of talent was the likes of Gotze, Hummels, Shinji Kagawa and Nuri Sahin. All earned big money moves although all bar Hummels have since returned to Dortmund.

    Since the clubs first rise to prominence between 2010 and 2013 they have been in transition, trying to keep up with Bayern Munich and their free spending ways. Players such as Gundogan and Mkhitaryan came close to reasserting Dortmund as Bayern's main challengers, however it seems now the club is preparing for the future and their new generation of young stars. All joined with reputations as promising young players, and many expect they will develop under the tutelage of Tuchel and his assistants into potential world class players.

    Whilst it's true Dortmund have yet to reach the dizzy heights of league titles and Champions League finals in recent years, with the current crop of youngsters they have if they can nurture them to the fullest of their potential, expect the name Borussia Dortmund to once again grace the heights they became famous for in the early years of this decade. Whilst Bayern Munich and now RB Leipzig have their own crop of young talent coming through, both should be worried about the club from the Ruhr region.

    By Jordan Wilkins - Twitter @brfcjordan95.
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