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What role could the controversial BVB newcomer take on?



BVB brings Felix Nmecha from VfL Wolfsburg

The response to Felix Nmecha’s transfer to BVB was ambivalent, not least because of his social media postings in the past. But the transfer fee of a whopping 30 million euros could also prove to be a mortgage for the 22-year-old should he not hit Borussia Dortmund in his first season. The biggest question is what role Nmecha will actually play.

“Felix Nmecha is a fast, technically skilled and physically strong player who will enrich our midfield both offensively and defensively with his profile,” said Borussia Dortmund’s sporting director Sebastian Kehl in the official announcement of the former Wolfsburg player’s signing. He enjoyed a first-class education at Manchester City and played a prominent role in Wolfsburg last season, Kehl continued.

The second half of the past season in particular belonged to the brother of VfL striker Lukas Nmecha, who first switched to the Autostadt in 2019 and returned to VfL Wolfsburg together with Felix in 2021. However, Felix Nmecha was still a relatively unknown quantity at the time, having only played in the Manchester City academy and reserve team until 2021.

He needed a bit of warm-up time after the transition to an – occasionally dysfunctional – first division team, but was able to record a total of 19 starting eleven appearances in the past season and was on the pitch almost every minute, especially in the final spurt of the season in April and May. Nmecha also made his senior international debut against Belgium in March, having previously decided definitively for Germany and against the English FA.

Depending on the formation, VfL head coach Niko Kovac put him in eighth position alongside Yannick Gerhardt or in tenth place behind Jonas Wind and Patrick Wimmer at the end of the season. In the statement above, BVB sports director Kehl also spoke of a defensive enrichment. Nmecha doesn’t necessarily shine with a consistently strong passing game and outstanding creativity, but has recently been particularly strong in chasing the ball and winning the ball back, like almost the entire Wolfsburg midfield. Due to his anticipation, he can often pierce through passes and is also an above-average aerial duel.

BVB: Nmecha as a runner alongside Brandt?

Nmecha should come on playing time anyway, unless BVB starts another big summer transfer offensive, because with Jude Bellingham, Raphaël Guerreiro and Mahmoud Dahoud three candidates for eighth positions have left Dortmund in the past few weeks. Currently only Julian Brandt seems to be in the offensive center, a row behind Emre Can currently holds the regular place, should Edson Álvarez not sign in. What roles Marco Reus and Giovanni Reyna will play in the future is in the stars. In the season finale, they were primarily substitution options for Edin Terzic.

In theory, Nmecha could certainly make a good back-up for Brandt with his running effort and his intensive style of play, so that the BVB playmaker can concentrate on his offensive tasks and also not wear himself out too much in counter-pressing. Compared to an eight-axis with Brandt and Bellingham or Brandt and Guerreiro, BVB is certainly a little lacking in creativity, which was essential for Dortmund’s success in the second half of the season against many a low-lying Bundesliga side.

It is also conceivable that Nmecha will initially be used primarily for games in which Terzic expects intensive midfield duels and a not too dominant appearance from his team. There may be a little lack of physique, precisely due to the departure of Bellingham. That was noticeable in the messed-up last game of the season against 1. FSV Mainz 05, when the guests were able to get out of their own half again and again. Can alone cannot block the entire middle in such games.

The biggest sticking point in this BVB transfer could be the transfer fee. In the Bundesliga, 30 million euros is still a lot of money and raises expectations of a player who hasn’t held his ground at the top league level for so long. Dortmund have also bought prospects and potential with Nmecha, which has yet to show up on the pitch.

BVB: Borussia Dortmund’s friendlies in preparation for the summer

Date Opponent venue
July 12, 6 p.m SV Westfalia Rhynern Hamm
July 19, 6 p.m Rot-Weiss Oberhausen Oberhausen
July 22, 4:30 p.m Red and White Erfurt Erfurt
July 28, 4:30 p.m San Diego Loyal San Diego
July 31, 3 p.m Manchester United Las Vegas
Aug. 3, 2:30 p.m Chelsea FC Chicago
Aug 6, 5 p.m AjaxAmsterdam Dortmund