Thursday, 15 November 2012


Who is he? Where does he play?

Gundogan's story is pretty cliched. As with all German youngsters rising through the ranks, the 22 year old was not born in Deutschland (he originated from Turkey), he's technically brilliant and perhaps most predictably of all, he plays for perennial talent spotters, Borussia Dortmund. 

Ah... so he's another Dortmund lad?

Not really, he was at VFL Bochum until signing a four year deal last summer. Though, he has joined Mario Gotze, Shinji Kagawa, Nuri Sahin, Marco Reus, Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels, Nevan Subotic, Sven Bender and co. as the list of talents who have either made their name or are making their name in the yellow of the North Rhine outfit. It is a talented production line and Gundogan, elegant in possession at the base of a very fluid, technical midfield and attack, is the glue that sticks all the headline-hoggers together when they reach the first team.

Unsung hero?

Whilst Reus, Gotze and the like set about interweaving between opposition defences with smart passing, Gundogan does the "tidy", "no-fuss" in front of his own back-line where he remains disciplined patrolling between the lines, strong in the tackle, smart in the interception, quick in the pass, he's vital to Dortmund's reserved style that is centred around a quick counter-attacking philosophy. He also runs like a Duracell bunny too, allowing him to cover a wide range of turf in the Dortmund midfield. From his role of "quarter-back" in the team, he can carry the ball out, pass it long, or short and is integral to the quick turnover of possession that works so well for Jurgen Klopp's young side, especially on the continent.

One of those non-Germans who is German?

He is yes (to find out more, read this), his talent has not evaded Joachim Loew in charge of the Die Maanschaft who has handed him 4 caps over the past year, as well as a place in the Germany 23-man squad for the European Championships in the summer and as long as he produces performances of the same quality he showed vs Manchester City and Real Madrid in the Champions League, it won't be long before he is a regular choice for Loew who seeks to cure a porous defence.

Will he leave Dortmund?

The defensive midfielder has been successful at that big stadium that is named after some mobile telecom company, winning successive Bundesliga titles under Jurgen Klopp. But after departures of Kagawa and Sahin, there is always a feeling Dortmund will be a selling club as they struggle to compete with the financial muscle of the bigger clubs. Tottenham and Manchester United have been linked, but he is currently bound to 3 more years at Dortmund. 

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