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BVB striker Youssoufa Moukoko ready for the World Cup in Qatar? Pros and cons



BVB striker Youssoufa Moukoko ready for the World Cup in Qatar?  Pros and cons

Youssouffa Moukoko made an impressive application for a place in Hansi Flick’s World Cup squad with a gala in BVB’s 3-0 win over VfL Bochum on matchday 13 of the Bundesliga. But is the not even 18-year-old really ready for the World Cup? A pro and con.

PRO: Quality is not a question of age – Moukoko is ready for the World Cup

By Filippo Cataldo

On November 20, 2022, Youssoufa Moukoko will be 18 years old. What could be better for a young professional footballer than celebrating his coming of age on the day of the World Cup opening game, guaranteed to be free of excitement and escalation with the DFB team in the World Cup base in Qatar?

Seriously: Moukoko proved by Saturday at the latest that he is ready for the World Cup and that he could also help the DFB team in Qatar. With his two wonderful goals in BVB’s 3-0 win against VfL Bochum in the small Revier derby, of course. Above all, he showed it with his behavior after the game.

“Honestly, I don’t care. I just watch from game to game when I’m performing like that. In the end we’ll see who’s there on Thursday,” said Moukoko immediately after the game sky when asked about his nomination assessment. Someone who is not even 18 years old and takes the phrases from the textbook for professional footballer answers so coolly ad absurdum is so ripe for a World Cup.

DFB-Elf: Player type like Youssoufa Moukoko is missing Hansi Flick

Later in the mixed zone, the rascal admitted that he “of course would like to be there” at the World Cup and that he had been in contact with Hansi Flick on Thursday. On the same day, RB Leipzig announced that Timo Werner would not be able to play football for the rest of the year due to a foot injury.

It is unclear whether there is a direct connection between Werner’s injury and Flick’s contact.

But even before the Leipzig striker’s World Cup exit, the DFB team was missing a robust, resolute and powerful dribbler with a desire for a spectacular finish. In contrast to Werner, Moukoko is not primarily a switch player, he prefers to act between opponents than between the lines.

It is at least conceivable that Moukoko would have had a real chance of being nominated, given his development this season and especially his form in recent weeks. The larger World Cup squad for Qatar (26 instead of 23 players) gives the national coach a little more room for experiments and also somewhat more daring manoeuvres. That’s why after Werner’s injury it doesn’t necessarily have to be called Niclas Füllkrug or Youssoufa Moukoko, but possibly also: Füllkrug AND Moukoko.

In what is believed to be the toughest group game against Spain on November 27, a player like Moukoko might help more than a more classic crusher like Füllkrug – but whose headers might help against Costa Rica.

World Cup in Qatar: Moukoko kept every promise

The fact that Moukoko has already scored against Dortmund’s special opponents FC Schalke 04 and Bayern Munich this season must also be credited to him, as must the fact that he used the possibly unavoidably complicated first full Bundesliga season 2021/2022 to grow. When BVB reacted to Sébastien Haller’s cancer with the emergency signing of Anthony Modeste, he didn’t sulk, but scored goals.

Sure, Moukoko isn’t 18 yet and he’s going through the normal developmental stages and normal ups and downs of any young professional. But so far, Moukoko has kept every promise and never appeared to be mentally unprepared for professional life. And in general: the fact that quality is not a question of age applies in every direction.

Why should the youngest Bundesliga and youngest Champions League player in history, why shouldn’t the youngest Bundesliga goalscorer, the youngest U21 national team debutant and the youngest U21 goalscorer in history not also be able to help at the World Cup?