One to watch: Mahmoud Dahoud, Borussia Mönchengladbach

Born in Amude, Syria, Mahmoud Dahoud became the first Syrian ever to play in the Bundesliga. Amuda is a town with a Kurdish majority close to Turkey. Dahoud’s parents fled the country in 1996 to escape the Assad regime, and with them they took their infant child. 20 years on and that decision has been more than justified, with their child now one of Germany’s most exciting young talents, in one of the biggest stages in world football.

Dahoud has represented Germany at youth level, and has two caps at under-21 level. His performances in Germany last season have attracted the attention of Premier League clubs, with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur taking a keen interest, as well as both Manchester clubs monitoring his progression at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

For now, Dahoud is set to stay in the Bundesliga, which will be music to the ears of Mönchengladbach fans. The Foals see the midfielder as one of their own, having joined as a youth player at the age of 14 back in 2010. This season marks his tenth year at the club, and at 20-years-old, die Borussen will want to hold on to their brightest star a little longer.

Before joining Mönchengladbach, Dahoud spent his junior playing days with SC Germania Reusrath and Fortuna Düsseldorf. It was in 2013 when Dahoud started to make his progression towards the first team. Former coach, Lucien Favre, called Dahoud into the first team to train, and handed the youngster his debut in a Europa League fixture against Sarajevo back in 2014. From there, he went from strength to strength, eventually replacing Christoph Kramer in the midfield, and for many, has been an upgrade in the middle of the park for the Foals. Going forward he is more of a threat, his smooth movements a joy to watch, and on top of that, he is a crowd favourite. He’s popular with the Gladbach fans and German football fans alike.

Strengths and weaknesses

Dahoud is a right-footed, complete central midfielder. He never stops moving, working hard for the team and finding pockets of space to get on the ball and make things happen, covering an average of 13 Kilometres a game.

“If I stop I feel like I’m out of the game,” was his words when explaining his mind set for such constant work rate. Dahoud also likes a tackle or two and won’t shy away from any midfield battles when required. His range of passing is one of his key attributes, especially in his role at Mönchengladbach, whilst he is more than capable of taking the ball for a comfortable stroll around the park when required. Last season was his breakthrough campaign, clocking 32 appearances, scoring five goals and creating 31 chances for his team, he managed eight assists – the same amount as Bayern Munich winger Douglas Costa – and kept a tidy pass completion of 84%.

One of his more memorable performances came in Frankfurt, after grabbing a goal and two assists in a 5-1 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt, which saw the home fans applaud him off the field. Not many players receive that kind of accolade.

What they said

André Schubert, the current Borussians boss is grateful to have his talents at his disposal: “He’s got a great engine and is a willing runner, but he has to be more efficient and learn to ease off at times, and also recognise that he doesn’t always have to run. That will come with experience.”

Former Germany captain, Lothar Matthaus: “Dahoud has a lot of potential, we all know that Mönchengladbach nurture talents who can become world class.”

With the exit of Granit Xhaka, Dahoud will have more responsibility in the midfield, and will most likely play a key role in the Foals’ season in the league and in the Champions League. A big season awaits the young German, and a lot is expected of him this term, whilst more eyes will be cast upon him as his stock rises and fans tune in to see just how good this kid really is.

If Matthaus is right, and Gladbach do nurture this talent of his, then you can be sure to see Dahoud become the next big thing to come out of German football.

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