Borussia Dortmund are never known to be big spenders in the transfer markets. Their moves are well thought of and they believe in developing lesser-known starlets into heroes. This approach has always worked in their favour over the years. This past summer, however, they did sign well-known stars in Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard but they came for much lesser fees than how much was expected.
Arriving from Borussia Monchengladbach, the younger Hazard did what the older one also did – get a new club. The fee was said to lie around £30 million and it was a surprise, considering how well he was doing for Gladbach over the past two years.
Christian Pulisic had left for Chelsea so Hazard’s signing made sense. The Belgian would slot right in, with Jadon Sancho moving to the right side of the front three.
In his last season at Gladbach, Hazard was one of their most productive players on the pitch. In a total of 35 appearances in all competitions, he had a tally of 13 goals and 12 assists (via Transfermarkt). He was versatile enough to play on either side of the pitch but played 19 games on the left. He was arguably their best player, helping them finish in the Europa League spots.
The 2018-19 season had been an improvement from the 2017-18 season. Under Dieter Hecking, Gladbach did finish as low as ninth in a disappointing campaign. But Hazard didn’t disappoint anyone. Playing 37 times in all competitions, he had a tally of 11 goals and nine assists.
Throughout the two seasons, Hazard’s productivity in the final third was very good. In the 2018-19 season, he completed 2.2 dribbles per game and had just as many key passes per game. Both of them were the highest at the club.
In the season before, Hazard was completing 1.9 key passes per game – the highest at Borussia Park. He had a tally of 1.5 dribbles per game too – the second-highest behind Raffael. It is this productivity in the final third that makes him such a dangerous player in attack.
That is what Dortmund saw in him which was similar to that of his older brother. And this season, Thorgan hasn’t let anyone down.
He has four goals to his name and seven assists in his bag too (via Whoscored). He is only behind Sancho when it comes to the highest contributions to goal, with the Englishman at 14.
But Hazard is playing almost as many key-passes per game as Sancho – 1.7 to Sancho’s 1.9 (via Whoscored). He is completing 1.9 dribbles per game, while Sancho is completing 2.7 of them. It shows that Hazard is more productive in the final third than Sancho. But it’s also worth noting that the Englishman is still 19 and is yet to completely mature.
Hazard certainly knows current Dortmund boss Lucien Favre from their time together at Gladbach. Favre had helped the club qualify for the Champions League twice in a row. In Favre’s last season at Borussia Park, Hazard had scored once, assisting seven times.
He recently praised Favre after a very good performance against Mainz. He told Bundesliga.com:
“I feel good at Dortmund, playing for this team, under this coach. I know Lucien Favre from my time at Gladbach (laughs). The win and my goal was a good birthday present for him.”
He fits right into how Dortmund play, not just to Favre’s style. That attacking style with a front three is something he had always been playing at Gladbach and does so for the Belgian national team as well. Everything points to the fact that he has been one of the best signings of the summer in Germany, and there’s plenty more to come.