Connect with us

Scout Report

Scout Report: Jeremy Toljan | Dortmund’s dynamic fullback

Mustafa Saeed takes a lot at Borussia Dortmund new signing Jeremy Toljan


Almost two decades ago and following a catastrophic showing in the European championships, there was a shift in emphasis within German football. The football directors in Germany have recognized that the game had passed them by, both technically and tactically. A restructuring was on the cards, with greater emphasis to be placed on youth development at all levels of the game.

This restructuring led to the implementation of many development centers around the country and increase of the number of qualified coaches. Professional clubs were required to have a youth academy with various checks and measures to ensure meeting the required standards.

These requirements have had the desired effect with the national team winning the World Cup in 2014 and consistently playing the type of football that was envisioned when the shift was first suggested.

Fast forward to 2017 and the results of the improved coaching and development strategies are being firmly felt. The Bundesliga is awash with young players that have been developed at their clubs and have been exposure for first team football; paving the Germans’ way for attaining the U21 Euro, also winning the FIFA Confederations cup despite keeping the senior first-team players at home.

One of the most promising of these young players is Jeremy Toljan, who was recently signed by Borussia Dortmund from Hoffenheim. The 23 year-old enjoyed an impressive campaign with Germany’s Euro-winning U21 team, eventually being named in the team of the tournament. The defender also played a crucial role in Hoffenheim’s highest ever finish in the Bundesliga last season.

Who is Jeremy Toljan?

Jeremy Toljan was born in Stuttgart on the 8 of August 1994. He took his first steps into football at the age of 10, playing at the youth stages of local sides SV Grun-Weiss Sommerrian and TSV Steinhaldenfeld, before moving to Stuttgarter Kickers- the former club of German legend Jurgen Klinsmann- in 2008.

From there he progressed to VFB Stuttgart, before making the switch to Hoffenheim and it was there when Toljan’s career began to blossom.

In his first season with the village club,Toljan was limited to a couple of appearances on the bench for the second team. But in 2012/2013, he broke into this side and turned up regularly in the Under-19 Bundesliga too.

Even though Hoffenheim were far from safe in the 16th place, Toljan got a taste of first-team action towards the end of the same, lucky season for him. He was named as a substitute of the three of the final four games of the campaign, but did not come on as relegation was avoided with a 5-1 playoff win over FC Kaiserslautern.

Eight weeks into the new season, Toljan made his debut against Mainz. Pinched in at the left-back position, Hoffenheim went 2-o up before conceding a dramatic comeback in the last eight minutes of the game.

It was a tough introduction to life in the German first tier, but Toljan hasn’t looked back. He finished his breakthrough season with ten first-team appearances and was an unused substitute 21 times.

He has since become a regular for Hoffenheim, playing on either side of defence or in more advanced wingback roles.  Also, he was part of the Germany squad which won silver at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

His international honors didn’t stop there despite his young age as the dynamic fullback vastly contributed to his country recent U21 Euro win with outstanding performances throughout the competition, crowned by 3 assists to his name.

What is his style of play?

Toljan is very much the prototypical modern footballer. He’s found his first-team niche at right-back, a position that he seems to have been born to play in, especially in recent times.

Physically strong and very quick, Toljan has the capacity to support in both the defensive and attacking phases. He recovers his position well and reads the game effectively enough to provide good cover for his defensive teammates.

The modern day full-back must boast speed and stamina to charge up and down the line constantly. He is also expected to be composed and precise enough to deliver a steady stream of crosses in the final third. The defensive sense surely is an innate prerequisite for a fullback.

The rare combination of these major prerequisites explains the demented demand of the position in recent times. But, Toljan who is yet to be any sort of high horse in this regard, certainly has the instincts and potential to reach the aforementioned heights if managed properly.

What are his strengths?

Although his development has been stunted by lack of first team opportunities, Toljan is still regarded as one of Germany’s brightest young defensive prospects and it’s easy to see why.

His versatility obviously tops the list; being capable of playing either right or left as well as in midfield elevate him far beyond rising prospects of his age.

Furthermore, he boasts of great physical attributes and shows good technical qualities. All contribute to his rapid and swift style, paving his way to roam forward and help his team on the front foot.

His performances at the U21 Euros are a solid reflection of what Toljan is capable of. In the semi-final shoot-out win over England, Toljan was arguably the Man of the Match and spent most of the game high up the pitch as a winger tormenting, Leicester’s Ben Chilwell with his eye-catching turn of pace. He also set up the winning goal in the final against Spain.

Winning 59% of his attempted tackles, also completing 31 interceptions and 34 clearances last season bring to the fore the promising signs on his contribution to defense.

What are his weaknesses?

Toljan’s main weakness must be his concentration, which has become most visible in his defensive performance, especially regarding his positioning and tactical awareness. It’s not a question of basic qualities that he needs to improve or acquire, but instead showing constant preparedness to use his defensive tendency effectively and without negative intervals that might compromise his contribution to the team.

Despite creating 15 chances and assisting one goal for his club last season, the German U21 international completed a disappointing 23% of his attempted take-ons, which clearly can be improved upon given his agility and great technical qualities, working on this would certainly improve his effectiveness going forward and also would lessen the chances of losing position in dangerous areas.

In spite of this, the main weaknesses in Toljan’s game can be addressed with experience and disciplined management. Sealing a move to Dortmund is a step in that direction; given their staggering record in developing young talents. The arrival of  Peter Bosz, who had worked miracles with Ajax’s young squad, is likely to help Toljan a lot.

Mustafa Saeed
Follow me

Mustafa Saeed

Mustafa is an aspiring writer who is keeping a close eye on the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Latin Football also scouting raw talents all over the globe.
Mustafa Saeed
Follow me

100 to Watch

Latest

Talent Radar2 days ago

MLS U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Season 2017: Talent Radar

As the 2017 MLS season has finished, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot to recognize the...

Talent Radar2 days ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #14: Houssem Aouar and David Neres feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Indian Football3 days ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Mumbai City 1-0 Chennaiyin

Vatsal Dani discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Mumbai City 1-0 Chennaiyin Chennayin FC...

Indian Football5 days ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: NorthEast United 0-1 Bengaluru FC

Sauharda Karki discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished NorthEast United 0-1 Bengaluru FC Another...

Talent Radar7 days ago

2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 10 Young Forwards – Edition 2

Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in...

Talent Radar7 days ago

2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 10 Young Midfielders – Edition 2

Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in...

Talent Radar7 days ago

2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 10 Young Defenders – Edition 2

Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in...

Talent Radar7 days ago

2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 5 Young Keepers – Edition 2

Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in...

Indian Football7 days ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin 3-2 ATK

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin 3-2 ATK Chennaiyin FC continued...

Indian Football7 days ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Delhi Dynamos 0-1 Jamshedpur

Aakriti Mehrotra discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Delhi Dynamos 0-1 Jamshedpur Jamshedpur FC...

Interviews1 week ago

Exclusive Interview: Gabriel Brazão, Brazil’s gentle giant and U17 World Cup star

Anderson Moura gets the chance to speak with Gabriel Brazão, Brazil’s U17 World Cup star. If you did not watch the...

Indian Football1 week ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Kerala Blasters 1-1 Mumbai City

Aravind Unnikrishnan discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Kerala Blasters 1-1 Mumbai City Kerala...

Talent Radar1 week ago

MLS 2017: Top 5 U-22 Players of the Season

Andrew Thompson sits down and takes a look at, who in his opinion, have been the best of a bright...

Tactical Analysis1 week ago

Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United | Heavy man orientation and poor spacing

Zachary Wu provides a tactical analysis of the Premier League game that finished Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United The Gunners vs...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Brasileiro 2017: Top 5 U-22 Players of the Season

Football News 24/7  Tom Robinson compiles a list of the top 5 U-22 Players of the 2017 edition of the...

Talent Radar1 week ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #13: Calvert-Lewin, Gnabry and Harit feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Indian Football2 weeks ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Delhi Dynamos 0-2 NorthEast United

Aakriti Mehrotra discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Delhi Dynamos 0-2 NorthEast United NorthEast...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Copa Libertadores 2017: Classy Gremio Worthy Winners

Tom Robinson looks back at the 2017 edition of the Copa Libertadores after Gremio overcame Lanus to take home the...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #12: Naby Keita and Justin Kluivert feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Panagiotis Retsos | Greece’s newest defensive rock

Dino Marcou provides a scout report which analyses Greece’s latest defensive starlet, Panagiotis Retsos. Panagiotis Retsos falls into the list...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot