Following a marvellous season at Swedish club AIK, Alexander Isak engineered a move to Borussia Dortmund despite interest from Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. A club not well coveted in Sweden in comparison to other options, the then 17-year-old opted for BVB.
But how has he settled to life in Germany and what do his native people make of him?
Bundesliga, or German football in general, is not that highly regarded in Sweden. Sadly, most elders are more into Premier League and the notion of a ’Premier League-mafia’ is a fun term to describe the situation in Sweden. While most people in the country, the newspapers included, would have hoped for Isak to join an English club, it was with interest they followed him to Borussia Dortmund.
A good friend of mine, Filip Wollin, the Chief Editor of SvenskaFans Tyskland among other things, interviewed Isak after HSV-BVB this autumn. This is a short conscript from that interview and brilliant article which can be found.
Wollin asks the question of whether Isak expects to be given a chance this season for Borussia Dortmund and Isak answers that it depends on many things, mainly on the form of his co-striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and that he has a clear understanding with Peter Bosz. The Dortmund head coach seems content with giving him time to develop while he’s under no real pressure. Isak was given the chance from the start in a rather tricky away game in the DFB Pokal against Magdeburg, which must mean that the former Status Quo has changed. Why is that? We do not know.
Isak’s playing style is special. He broke through at AIK as a tall, lanky striker who was surprisingly quick and good with his feet. His lengthy figure makes it possible for him be the main focal figure for his team as well as a good target player. He proved to be both during his last season with AIK.
In Sweden, his choice of club has been somewhat mocked. When he featured for the U-23s last season, most people who followed him loosely considered the move to Germany to have been a bad choice. They somehow meant that Real Madrid would have been better.
However, Isak’s move from AIK to Borussia Dortmund was always going to be tricky. He was always going to play youth football for a while before he got settled. But now that he has, we can expect him to kick on from here. He has already shown his skills and his speed as well as his perfect positioning in attack. He can improve on his finishing a bit, but he is a real raw talent and we all know that Dortmund is the perfect place to develop these.
It’s become common knowledge for football journalists in Sweden by now to call Isak the talent of the decade. Even though Zlatan Ibrahimovic is and probably will always be the most prolific player to ever play for the national team, many would argue that Isak has the potential to go even further.
His generation in Sweden is particularly good and as long as just a few of those players from that generation keep on developing, Sweden’s national team might become a force to be reckoned with in a few years time.
His current playing time suggests that this season is the season when he elevates himself and becomes one of the top talents in Europe, the very same thing we all know he is capable of doing. Is this his year? It’s hard to say. Even though Aubameyang has been in fantastic form, it can’t go on forever and when he dips, Isak will be there.
Bundesliga’s coverage in Sweden is basically dependent on Isak’s success. He can become the focal point for a new interest in Sweden and that would definitely be lovely.
[Isak, if you read this…] Lycka till nu, Isak. Hoppas karriären går som den ska.
By Axel Falk.