The 22-year-old academy-grown Dortmund fullback – Felix Passlack, has signed a new two-year deal with the club. Under much duress at right-back currently in the team, the contract renewal might signal a new direction for both his position at the club, and the position at the club.
To say that the departure of Achraf Hakimi was a setback for Dortmund is an understatement. The Moroccan international was a major part of Lucien Favre’s tactical scheme during his tenure from 2018 to 2020, especially for his ability to get up and down the field and support the forwards from the right flank. Dortmund brought in Thomas Meunier as a replacement, a colossal mistake in the grand scheme of things. At 29-years-old, Meunier is well on the decline and has lost quite a bit of pace the past couple of years.
After the former PSG man failed to establish himself in the first half of the season, Mateu Morey emerged as the first choice starter under Edin Terzic. With his pace and precision passing, the Spaniard appeared to possess many of the same qualities as his predecessor. However, Morey picked up a nasty injury in Dortmund’s semi-cup final victory this past weekend, and now looks set for several months on the sidelines. That leaves the right-back load down to just Thomas Meunier and Lukasz Piszczek, two unbelievable players in their heyday, but two players that lack the explosiveness and offensive vocation in the final third of the pitch.
Piszczek has been an integral part of Dortmund for the last decade, featuring in the team that lost to Bayern Munich at Wembley in 2013 in the Champions League Final, and the team that won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in the early 2010s. Now, at 35, he is past his prime and would probably admit that himself, having announced this month of his intentions to retire at the end of the season. That leaves Thomas Meunier, who is finishing his first season of a four year contract. The Belgian international hardly seems to be the solution for Borussia Dortmund moving forward, having looked shaky at the best of times this season. Dortmund undoubtedly need to enter the market for a new right-back, but the renewal of Passlack’s contract is encouraging to see.
Dortmund have let go of the likes of Erik Durm, Matthias Ginter and Julian Weigl far too soon over the past few seasons, and the re-signing of Passlack is a signal of intent that the Black & Yellows are not willing to make that mistake again.
An exciting young player in need of further development, Passlack has all the tools to provide the team with depth and explosiveness from the right side. Passlack perfectly fits the mold and footprint left by Achraf Hakimi, and after a season where he was hidden from the eyes of the public, he is ready to blossom into the player Dortmund fans always hoped he would become. In an inflated market, where mediocre full backs are sold for tens of millions of euros, the solution to Dortmund’s problems might be in their own backyard. All they have to do is look.