Egyptian Irrigation Minister discusses accomplishments of country's mission in Uganda    Alexbank, EBRD sign $100m agreement    Social Solidarity Ministry to restructure its activities in cooperation with private sector: El–Kabbaj    Al Ahly, Zamalek play 2nd Cairo Derby in less than 96 hours    Naguib Sawiris in talks to acquire 51% stake in Shalateen state-owned mining firm    Libya National Army say 16 Turkish soldiers killed in fighting    Programme: Japanese Film Week kicks off at Cairo Opera House    Egyptian MP takes over presidency of Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean    Iran raises death toll from new virus to 8, infections to 43    Hisham Talaat Moustafa invests EGP 1.5bn to establish Four Seasons-branded hotel in Luxor    Amr Fahmy former CAF general-secretary, dies battling cancer    BREAKING: Former CAF general secretary Amr Fahmy dies - reports    Lebanese hospital uses healing power of music to fight cancer    Iran's state TV: Hardliners win all seats for Tehran in vote    Brexit team seeks to evade Irish Sea checks on goods    Italy coronavirus cases increase to more than 100    Egypt's manufacturing index fell 1.3% in November 2019    Egyptian prosecutor renews detention of researcher Patrick Zaki for 15 days    7 companies bid on constructing Egypt-Saudi interconnection project    KFAED in Egypt to discuss Sinai development projects    Mohamed Ramadan: Former aviation minister says pilot deserves ban    Mahraganat: controversy over barring Egyptian street popular music    Milan coach Pioli angry after draw with Fiorentina    Real boss Zidane pessimistic about Hazard injury ahead of vital week    Saudi-led coalition says foiled Red Sea attack by Yemen's Houthis    70th Berlinale kicks off with My Salinger Year starring Sigourney Weaver    Egypt discusses cooperation with Greece to promote antiquities' replicas    COVID-19 toll reaches 2,360 deaths, 77,700 infections so far    Egypt's Sisi stresses commitment to success of Ethiopian dam negotiations    Madbouly joins high-level African judiciary meeting on terrorism    South Sudan president reappoints rebel leader Machar in unity government    Al-Sisi discusses enhancing commercial cooperation with Chile    Egypt's Ghada Wali sworn in as UN Office on Drugs and Crime executive head    Mashrabia Gallery participates in 1-54 African Contemporary Art Fair Marrakech 2020 ( 22-23 February)    Cairo court acquits Mubarak's sons of stock market manipulation    Egypt seeks justice, development for Africa: PM    Egypt court acquits Alaa and Gamal Mubarak of the 'stock market manipulation' case    Soma Bay to host Golf Gourmet Week with 150 international golfers    South Korea says coronavirus cases more than double, total now 433    Egypt court reverses order to release activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah from detention    Pompeo says Ethiopia-Egypt massive dam dispute could take months    Man behind cut, copy and paste shortcuts dies aged 74    Al Ahly play Zamalek for Egypt Super Cup in Abu Dhabi    Little Women on its way to become a classic    UEFA Champions League: defending champions Liverpool clash with Atletico Madrid    Chinese Grand Prix likely to be called off amid coronavirus concerns    Egypt's Golden Age actress, Nadia Lutfi, dies at 83    Egypt's President Sisi pardons some prisoners on 25 Jan. Revolution anniversary    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Axel Witsel shines as Dortmund's new-look midfield rises to the challenge
Published in Daily News Egypt on 26 - 08 - 2018

Borussia Dortmund's 4-1 victory over RB Leipzig saw them bounce back from a sub-par showing in the German Cup. Lucien Favre's new-look midfield played a huge role in the win, especially new signing Axel Witsel.With Borussia Dortmund so far lacking a specialist striker, coach Lucien Favre has put his faith in a number of alternatives to share the team's goalscoring duties.
Marco Reus, Maximilian Philipp, Christian Pulisic and Mario Götze were the obvious candidates to chip in with the goals, but one unlikely candidate has emerged as Dortmund's equal top goalscorer.
Enter Axel Witsel, the central midfielder signed from Tianjin Quanjian for €20 million this summer. While he was brought in to add steel and experience to the BVB's midfield, he's filled a gaping hole in the team's offence, too.
And together with Mahmoud Dahoud and fellow new arrival Thomas Delaney, Witsel forms one third of a midfield trio that could become the focal point of Favre's Dortmund tenure.
Unexpected goal threat
Against Greuther Fürth in the German Cup, Witsel scored the all-important last-minute equalizer that pulled Dortmund back from the brink of an embarrassing defeat.
The goal showed the skill, poise and ice-cold instinct of a striker rather than that of a disciplined midfielder, as Witsel calmly cushioned Reus' ‘Hail Mary' cross into the back of the net.
And again, on Sunday against RB Leipzig, Witsel popped up in the six-yard box to give Dortmund a 4-1 lead heading into the half-time break.
This time, the Belgian international swiveled his body and smashed home an acrobatic bicycle kick after Delaney had seen his header wonderfully saved by Peter Gulacsi.
Two goals in two games, not bad for a man signed for his calming presence at the base of midfield.
All-round talent
“We did not actually bring him in to score goals,” sporting director Michael Zorc admitted earlier this week.
That may be true, but those who have followed Witsel's career will know that he does have an eye for goal. At his first club, Standard Liege, he scored an impressive 45 in 194 appearances, albeit from a more attacking role.
But while goals are invaluable in football, the most impressive aspect of Witsel's performances against Fürth and Leipzig has been his fine blend of energy and composure.
He appears, at this early stage, to be the archetypal box-to-box midfielder. A player who combines the defensive sensibilities and engine room of Julian Weigl and the expert vision and creative touch of Shinji Kagawa.
It was difficult to know where on the pitch to look for him against Leipzig, such was Witsel's uncanny ability to be everywhere at once.
At one stage he was dropping between the two center-backs, kick-starting Dortmund's attacks from deep. The next minute he was ghosting in at the back post, waiting for a black and yellow shirt to seek out his unmarked presence.
“He plays simply and calmly,” Favre said after the Fürth match. “He knows when to hold onto possession and that's important for the team.”
New-look midfield shines
Witsel's arrival at Dortmund gives Favre the perfect tools to create a dangerous midfield trio alongside Dahoud and Delaney. One that could threaten to match the heights of Jürgen Klopp's famed midfield, which featured the likes of İlkay Gündoğan, Sven Bender, Shinji Kagawa and Mario Götze.
Dahoud, who dazzled under Favre during his time at Borussia Mönchengladbach, showed flashes of his talent against Leipzig after a poor opening 15 minutes, which followed a sub-par showing against Fürth.
He marked his solid performance with his first goal for the BVB and his first since April 2017 – a wonderfully acrobatic header from Marcel Schmelzer's cross – which pulled Dortmund back into the match.
Delaney is undoubtedly the workhorse in the trio, breaking up play and screening the back-line, while also providing bursting runs from deep timed to perfection. He was equally impressive in the Leipzig victory.
But if Witsel continues his balanced mix of defensive steel and attacking penetration, he'll stand out alone as the key to making Dortmund's midfield click and to coaxing the best out of his teammates.
He promises to be a leader in this relatively inexperienced Dortmund side, a priceless commodity when it comes to building a team capable of challenging for silverware.
And while Dortmund's concerns, both in regards to their striking stocks and their still fragile defence, cannot be ignored due to one promising performance, fans have a right to be excited that Favre has the means to create a new dynasty over the next few seasons.

Clic here to read the story from its source.