UEFA.com's weekly wonderkid: Julian Weigl
Saturday, 15 August 2015
"A totally clear, cordial and open young man," says Thomas Tuchel, Julian Weigl has been quick to stake a claim at Borussia Dortmund. UEFA.com learns more about the 19-year-old.
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With the Bundesliga season starting this weekend and the UEFA Europa League play-offs commencing on Thursday, we look at Borussia Dortmund's summer acquisition Julian Weigl, still only 19 but already pushing to be noticed.
Name: Julian Weigl
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Debut: 14 February 2014 for 1860 München v Ingolstadt
Position: central midfielder
Date of birth: 8 September 1995
Preferred foot: right
They say …
"You can see every day that things are moving forward, that he enjoys it so much, which is why we play him so often. Julian has made a very good impression the whole time he's been here. He is thrilling us with his briskness and carefree attitude. At the same time, he displays the ability to learn and to soak things up. He is a totally clear, cordial and open young man."
Thomas Tuchel, Dortmund coach
Weigl joined the youth department of second-tier 1860 München in 2010, aged 14. He became captain of the Under-19s and, via the reserves, then became a first-team player, making his league debut in February 2014. Only six months later, coach Ricardo Moniz made the then 18-year-old the youngest captain in the club's history.
His strong performances prompted Borussia Dortmund to sign him in summer 2015. Brought in as an additional option for the squad and faced with stiff competition in central midfield, he has been more involved in pre-season than initially anticipated.
Playing style …
Despite his youth, Weigl is already surprisingly mature on the ball and has shown impressive vision which he often uses to play risky – yet potentially decisive – passes. His technique and ability to change the rhythm of a game are not in question, though he does concede he needs to work on bulking up his physique.
Shades of …
His team-mate and rival for a place in BVB's defensive midfield, Sven Bender. The German international is more of a ball-winner than a schemer like Weigl, but the similarities are stark enough, Bender having also made his debut for 1860 München in the second division. "Of course you look at which other players have taken that road you are dreaming of taking," said Weigl. "And immediately you start thinking of the Bender twins, Sven and Lars. I noticed then that there are certain parallels."
Eureka moment …
On 6 August 2015, Weigl put in such a mature and commanding display in the second leg of Dortmund’s UEFA Europa League third qualifying round tie – a 5-0 victory against Wolfsberg in front of over 65,000 fans – that he looked to the manor born.
Best-case scenario …
With new coach Tuchel a proponent of keeping possession and playing out from the back, a technically strong, passing midfielder is required in the holding role. Nuri Şahin is still on the sidelines and Bender is more ball-winner than ball-player, meaning Weigl might have further chances to stake his claim sooner rather than later.
He says …
"In that squad, I see myself as a challenger. I came here and just wanted to see how quickly I would be able to cope with the pace and wanted to learn from the huge quality the other players have."