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BVB: Nico Schulz and his time at Borussia Dortmund



Dialogue during summer preparations: BVB coach Marco Rose with Nico Schulz.

Since moving to Borussia Dortmund in 2019, Nico Schulz has been caught in a negative sporting cycle. BVB has been willing to break through this for a long time – the high-paying contract of the 29-year-old full-back and the club’s poor negotiating position have prevented this so far.

A characteristic of the absurd theater of the 20th century is that the passage of time is not presented in a straight line, but rather in cycles. The fact that the characters go through the same thing over and over again, always arriving at the same starting point – sometimes without realizing it or being able to defend themselves against it – creates absurdity. The situation at the beginning is then simply not fundamentally different from that at the supposed end; only the viewer’s understanding and insight into this situation have changed.

The situation is very similar with the time that Nico Schulz has spent at Borussia Dortmund since moving in 2019. The full-back is caught in a negative cycle that has long since taken on absurd features. It is the club’s wish that it ends in the summer.

This was made clear last Saturday. Schulz, although injured for almost four weeks, was on the bench for 90 minutes in the thrashing of Wolfsburg. Marco Rose preferred to let 17-year-old Tom Rothe make his remarkable Bundesliga debut – and if he hadn’t dropped out at short notice, BVB coach Thorgan Hazard would have used it.

With currently 15 Bundesliga games in his third season, Schulz has received the most games in a season so far at Borussia. But this season has not made any difference to the past. Schulz’ cycle consists of regular injuries, irregular assignments and unconvincing performances.

BVB has been wanting to give up Nico Schulz for a long time

The 29-year-old has played just 60 of a possible 139 competitive games (one goal, two assists) and was a starting XI in 38. During this time he has been injured seven times, five of them with injuries in the muscular area. On average, each injury cost him around a month.

It is therefore no wonder that the club is dissatisfied with this situation and has been wanting to end the employment relationship for a long time. However, since this is dated until 2024 and is very well paid with a rumored annual salary of six million euros, it is not surprising that Schulz only gives up the best contract of his career if a reasonable alternative opens up, both sportingly and financially.

This in turn does not happen because Schulz’ has hardly gotten a foot on the ground for almost three years. As well as? The constant downtimes ultimately prevent him from getting into a constant rhythm of competition. Schulz sees this and the lack of match practice more than clearly in each of his appearances.

BVB – Nico Schulz and his performance data at Borussia Dortmund

season competitive games starting eleven Gates templates game minutes
2019/2020 18 14 1 1164
2020/2021 19 9 1008
2021/2022 23 15 2 1310

BVB: Nico Schulz caught in an unhealthy cycle

When he’s on the field, Schulz certainly always puts in a lot of effort and also delivered some decent performances without highlights. However, he avoids risk in his game too often and is still far from free from mistakes. He seems really burdened by his unhappy time in Dortmund, his body language does not radiate anything positive.

In view of these circumstances, one does not find out how things look internally in the seventh most expensive purchase in BVB club history, with a transfer fee of 25.5 million euros. Schulz has not yet spoken about it publicly.

“We all know what Nico’s qualities are, what kind of football he has already played and why he was brought to Borussia Dortmund,” said Rose last summer. Again and again he was seen on the training ground in dialogue with Schulz, but even the coach couldn’t free Schulz from this unhealthy cycle.

So Schulz is just a sad decal of the player who had his best time as a footballer with four goals and 13 assists in 71 competitive games under Julian Nagelsmann at TSG Hoffenheim and thus played himself into the focus of Borussia. In the Kraichgau, Schulz was a rail player in a system with a back three, which suits him much better than being a classic left-back in a four-man formation. In this role, he made numerous moves in midfield, ran up and down the flanks and brought in his high speed and dynamic in the transition game.

BVB with a weak negotiating position with Nico Schulz

The hope that the current Schulz will be able to tie in with this time in a new environment does not seem to be overly great within the industry, despite the weak negotiating position of the Dortmunder. Of course, interested clubs know that BVB would like to sell. Getting involved with a kind of junk price and allowing the financial loss of the already little worthwhile investment to continue to increase is not in the interests of Borussia.

“These are rumours,” said Schulz’ advisor Roger Wittmann in February picture, when an alleged interest from Fenerbahce made the rounds at the end of the winter transfer window in Turkey. “He plays for Borussia Dortmund. They’re a top club. I haven’t talked to him about it, I just read it in the newspaper. The boy feels good in Dortmund and will stay there.”

In the end, an offer would not only have to convince the club, but above all Schulz, in order to get out of his lavishly endowed contract early. A more than tricky situation for Dortmund and a supposedly comfortable situation for Schulz. Just not from a sporting point of view, because Schulz urgently needs a new start if he is willing to counteract the decline in his career. In the summer, both parties make another attempt to escape the endless loop.