Alankrith Shankar writes a detailed Scout Report about Julian Weigl, the sensational Borussia Dortmund midfielder.
The year is 2014. The second team from Munich, 1860 Munchen were desperate to turn things around. Branded as one of the worst teams in the country, 1860 were languishing in the wrong half of the 2. Bundesliga table. They had just sacked Ricoardo Moniz and employed Dutch counterpart, Markus von Ahlen. Though Ahlen did not last quite long himself, the Dutchman was influential in Weigl’s transformation from a raw young boy talent to the defensive shield playing for Borussia Dortmund today.
Who is Julian Weigl?
A brisk young central midfielder, who became the youngest captain in 1860 Munchen’s history after von Ahlen made the young boy the club captain. A surprising decision as Weigl was just dipping his feet and playing his first season of professional football. A sort of dream start, don’t you think?
Standing tall at 6ft 1, Weigl was born on September 8, 1995 in the small town of Bad Aibling, Germany. While there isn’t much on Weigl’s rise in his youth, young Julian joined 1860 Muchen’s youth setup from TSV Rosenheim in the summer of 2010. After spending 3 years in 1860 Munchen’s u17 squad, the summer of 2012 saw Weigl move to the u19 squad. A year later, after impressing in the u19 side, he moved on the 1860 Munchen reserves team. This was the side where he made the most of his impact as a youth player and his steady, brisk rise as a defensive midfielder saw him gain a professional contract with 1860 Muchen’s first team squad, in the summer of 2014 after displaying his skills and talent from the month of February.
Talent Radar Accolades:
Once in the first team, Weigl started 18 out of the 27 games after he was made the captain and stripped off it. He played an integral role in helping 1860 Munchen stay in the 2.Bundesliga after a relegation playoff. Weigl did not start either of the playoff games but had made a striking impression that saw him make a 2.5M move to German giants, Borussia Dortmund.
Style, Strengths and Weaknesses
The words of his current manager, Thomas Tuchel were “I’d rather have him want the ball than hide away from it.” Julian is a very eager candidate. He has an impatience amongst his strides and does not rest when off the ball. Tall, lanky and slender, he has shaped himself as similar to his idol, Sven Bender. Operating almost the same position too as Sven Bender, Weigl managed to bench the experienced German at the start of this season while he quietly went on doing his work in the midfield as the defensive shield in front of the backline. However the most strikingly brilliant feature of his game is the distribution work that he does without asking for much appreciation. Weigl has the vision of a hawk and the ability to pick a pass at the right moment.
He averages 82 passes per Bundesliga game at an accuracy rate of 93%, numbers which are quite high for a player who had just started to play his first season in the first division of Germany for one of the biggest clubs in Europe. It is to be noted that the above mentioned stats are only recorded in the time period of August 2015-October 2015. He may not be a prolific goal scorer but he is a creator. And for a creator his defensive work needs to be spoken proudly about. Weigl averages 2 tackles and 3 interceptions per game, helping protect that shaky backline Tuchel has had to scavenge with as the remains of Jurgen Klopp’s illustrious Dortmund career came to an end, not in the most spectacular manner that a Dortmund fan would proudly have hoped to speak about. He has acted like a 3rd CB, something Klopp had hoped for from Mathias Ginter but failed to receive it.
Tall and slender. Those were the words I used to describe the young German. From the word go in professional football, Weigl has been looked down upon for his physicality. His distribution and vision could not have been put to good use when he was being shaken so very easily off the ball. Nevertheless, young Julian started to find a way out and play to his strengths than rather work hard on his weaknesses. His first season in the 2.Bundesliga, playing and fighting against relegation, taught him to be tough mentally and provided vital lessons about avoiding challenges and holding up play. His close friends and team mates have often said that Weigl plays tapes of himself playing and analyses his performances to identify and rectify his errors; He trains intensively and hitting the gym has become a hobby more than a training routine for young Weigl. His hard work has made him impress with a high distance covered tally. Having improved on his physicality after joining Dortmund, he has been harder to catch up to and shake off the ball. Fitness has been key to his success in his first season outing here in the premier division of the Bundesliga.
What does the future hold?
Weigl loves to live in the city. He stays at a cozy 3 bed room apartment with his girlfriend. He loves to spend family time and does not forget old friendships. Everything is going so splendidly well, on and off the pitch for the young man, and his coach can’t stop singing praises about him. Tuchel was instrumental in bringing Weigl to Dortmund. Weigl also cannot believe how well and quickly he has progressed at Dortmund, “Things have gone so fast. I had to be realistic in the summer.. I was just out of 2nd division and in our squad are TOP players. I just wanted to soak up a lot and learn.”
Well, learning he has. And so spectacularly that his stock has risen so highly. In one season in the Bundesliga, he is now valued at 20M, almost 10 times the price of which he was bought for from 1860. The Bundesliga may not have the flashiness of the Premier League nor can Dortmund pay the high end wages of the big 6 from the Premier League, but they sure do offer much more stability to grow and develop as a player, the kind that Weigl requires at the moment. The future may see his stock rise incredibly high that he could probably represent only the 3 super giants of European football, or see him stay at Dortmund, which would be the case scenario that all Dortmund and majority of the Bundesliga fan base hopes to become true.
Written by Alankrith Shankar.