Borussia Dortmund won a run in 2023 and also the sixth competitive game in a row – also thanks to Julian Brandt, who is currently in top form.
There was a phase like this a little over a year ago. Nevertheless, many things are different now. Towards the end of 2021, Julian Brandt was in top form for weeks and was the best player at Borussia Dortmund.
The 26-year-old is also currently, as the statistics alone prove: His goal in the decisive 2-0 away win against Werder Bremen was Brandt’s tenth goal participation (six goals, four assists) this season. Nobody at BVB surpasses this value.
The differences between then and now are manifold. In the preseason under Marco Rose, Brandt made a mighty step forward and managed to keep the deficits small in his game. But compared to today, Dortmund didn’t have the run under Rose that they currently have under Edin Terzic. BVB has won six out of six competitive games this year.
And this is also because Brandt has now achieved something with which he has had enormous difficulties in the course of his career so far: he has finally brought consistency to his performances. Dortmund’s long-time most inconsistent player is now the one they can rely on the most. Brandt’s strengths regularly come to the fore, the former weaknesses are hardly any more.
BVB: Technically, Julian Brandt is one of the best in the Bundesliga
He has thus continued the upward trend of the previous season in all respects. Brandt is set, plays very maturely and also has the necessary intensity in his game, which he often lacked in the past. He goes the way to the defensive more consistently and also puts a biting body language on the day. The sloppy, lethargic quality that caused him to keep making mistakes has largely disappeared.
The fact that he keeps calm on the ball is nothing new. Technically, Brandt has always been a feast for the eyes and one of the best in the league. The national player then makes difficult things look easy and finds sensible solutions even in the tightest of spaces and under pressure.
“Of course we’re happy about the development because it’s not just playful, it’s also physical,” Terzic said recently about Brandt. “He’s bringing the necessary toughness into his game now, so he’s made a significant step forward. We’ve been working on that for a long time.”
That’s why Julian Brandt is currently the best player in the league
What sets Brandt apart from many others is his basic game intelligence – especially when it comes to offensive movements. He anticipates spaces very well and knows when to move where. In Bremen you could see this, for example, in his run, which led to his goal to make it 2-0, which in turn was technically excellent in one flowing movement.
Brandt’s timing and feeling represent a great added value in Dortmund’s game and Terzic is smart enough not to press these skills into an overly rigid corset. Rather, Brandt is very flexible on the field. He plays in the center and on the wing, sometimes looking for depth at the front or letting himself fall in order to be present in the build-up play. This numerous castling allows Brandt to live out his game intelligence and to decide for himself which spaces he occupies depending on the situation.
If you take all these impressions together and look at the competition, it’s easy to judge that Brandt is currently the best player in the Bundesliga. Neither his teammate Jude Bellingham nor Bayern’s Jamal Musiala can do much to counter Brandt’s form. The closest comes Randal Kolo Muani of Frankfurt Eintracht, who has scored in three of his four games so far in 2023, his best run of goals this season.
BVB: Julian Brandt “has developed extremely”
Brandt has also been directly involved in at least one goal in each of his past three games in the Bundesliga (two goals, one assist). The maturity that he now radiates, plus his self-confidence – it will be extremely difficult for all challengers in the squad to push Brandt out of the starting XI.
“Jule has developed extremely over the course of the season, he’s one of our most consistent players. He’s completely fit and always one of the strongest runners,” said Terzic on Saturday. “And of course he’s extremely important for us on the ball. Today he found the last words before we left the dressing room. He did that really well. You could tell that he wanted to lead the way. We’re very happy with his performance.”
This is of course also Brandt, but at the same time he limits the enthusiasm about the Dortmund series a little. After all, he himself is the best example of how BVB can go up and down in quick succession. “I’m extremely happy to be experiencing this right now,” he said. “We have a euphoria that is slowly building up. But we also have to be honest with ourselves. There are areas that we can do even better.”
Terzic also emphasizes this again and again and is right about it. Although since the new year there has been very little to complain about either in his team or in Brandt.
BVB: Julian Brandt’s statistics for the 2022/23 season