In January, Julien Duranville switched to Borussia Dortmund at the age of 16. In the most important minutes of the pre-season, the Belgian made a surprising but strong debut for BVB. Some smells at the moment as if the fast winger could surprise in the Dortmund squad.
When 16-year-old Julien Duranville switched from RSC Anderlecht to Borussia Dortmund last January, after all for a reported 8.5 million euros, he had already been on the pitch with BVB – more than eight years earlier. Back then, Duranville shared the turf with Sebastian Kehl.
That was in October 2014. BVB played in the Champions League at Anderlecht, had to do without the injured Marco Reus and won 3-0 with midfield boss Kehl in the starting XI. Duranville made his appearance before kick-off, however: as a runner-in at the hands of RSC forward Frank Acheampong.
Unfortunately, it is not known whether Kehl was aware of this fact before he sat down with Duranville and his family for the first time. On the other hand, one thing is clear: in the person of Kehl, BVB was once again very early on with one of the top talents in Europe. According to the Belgian daily Het Nieuwsblad even so early that they were willing to pay five million euros for him even before Duranville had played his first professional game in May 2022. This, together with the fact that Dortmund has an excellent reputation for recruiting and training such players, made other clubs interested in the Belgian, such as Real Madrid or Bayern Munich, look down the drain.
Kehl recently described the winter transfers of Julian Ryerson and Duranville as “anticipations for this summer”. While Ryerson became a regular right away, Duranville still had to be patient. This was less due to sporting reasons, but rather to a muscle tear in the thigh suffered in the RSC training camp on Crete. The now 17-year-old was only able to increase the load at the beginning of March.
BVB: Julien Duranville is the third youngest Dortmund debutant
During this time, the BVB team functioned extremely well and rushed from victory to victory. Duranville therefore had to be patient even more before he was actually on the field for Borussia for the first time. Juju, as he is known, made his debut in the professional squad in the win in Augsburg on matchday 33. Six days later, it became apparent just how much appreciation he already has.
In the botched match point game against Mainz, coach Edin Terzic surprisingly threw the Belgian U19 international into the deep end after 62 minutes. With a 0-2 deficit, Duranville should help prevent the disaster in the most important minutes of the season. Only Youssoufa Moukoko and Nuri Sahin were younger when they first played for BVB.
In the end, the Westphalians were missing a goal for the championship. If there was any good news for Dortmund that day, it was Duranville’s performance. The winger produced several good scenes from a standing start on the right and his two greatest weapons: high pace and powerful dribbling.
BVB: Julien Duranville remarkably carefree
Duranville also acted remarkably carefree in these little more than 30 minutes, the enormous pressure situation did not seem to affect him. In the end there were more than 24 ball actions, a pass rate of 78 percent and 80 percent of duels won.
With his substitution, those responsible in Dortmund only followed up their words with deeds. Because already around Duranville’s commitment, they expressed their confidence that they had made a good catch. “He is a highly talented winger who feels very comfortable on the right side, is super strong in one-on-one situations, has very good creativity and can pose a lot of goal threat,” said Terzic. Kehl noted that the main focus is “to integrate Julien into our professional squad and the new environment as quickly as possible and gradually bring him up to the level of the Bundesliga”.
Of course, it is still very early for an assessment, but the impressions so far give the feeling that those responsible will succeed. Of course, Duranville’s physique still has room for improvement and it will still take some time before he has enough competition toughness. But his mobility already looks enormously promisingthe close ball guidance and control as well as his low center of gravity at a height of 1.70 meters enable him to turn and turn quickly.
BVB: Romelu Lukaku for Julien Duranville the role model
In the first friendly of the season, a 7-0 win against Westfalia Rhynern, put Duranville before the 5:0 after a nice deep run and almost rewarded himself five minutes later, after he danced three defenders and his shot was deflected. “He’s extremely fast, makes extremely disgusting movements, and has good technique – that doesn’t happen that often. I think he’ll still be fun in the black and yellow jersey,” said his opponent Patrick Franke Westphalian Gazette after the game.
Duranville also has the most difficult phase behind it privately. At first he lived with his mother in a hotel room, since his father looked after his two younger siblings in Brussels who were still of school age. After a good six months, the integration process into the new environment is well advanced, and his family is now completely in Dortmund.
And should there still be difficulties, Duranville can pick up the phone and ask his role model for advice. Compatriot Romelu Lukaku, who, like Duranville, comes from Anderlecht’s academy, “is like a big brother to me,” he told the BVB members’ magazine. “I can call him anytime and he always has an open ear for me.”
All of this currently smells a bit like Duranville could surprise in the BVB squad faster than perhaps widely assumed. In any case, the systems of “L’Éclair”, the Blitz, as Anderlecht’s managing director Peter Verbeke once called it, are excellent. Those who register for one of the numerous football manager games in the coming Bundesliga season should be told: With insider tip Duranville you can probably get a bargain!
BVB: Julien Duranville from Borussia Dortmund in the profile