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Three reasons Axel Witsel has been key to Dortmund’s resurgence

Daniel Anwar | 6 November 2018

Midfielder has been superb since his summer arrival

Borussia Dortmund have been a revelation so far this season. The Bundesliga leaders are unbeaten in all competitions under Lucien Favre and their vibrant attacking play has been a joy to watch.

Marco Reus, Jadon Sancho and Paco Alcacer have won plenty of plaudits for their contributions, but summer signing Axel Witsel has been vital in midfield too.

With Dortmund 23/10 to beat Bayern Munich in a huge game this weekend, we’ve taken a look at Witsel’s impact so far…

Keeps things ticking

Witsel usually plays in a duo with Thomas Delaney, providing a solid midfield platform for the team to build from.

Dortmund have plenty of match-winners and Witsel gets the ball to them in areas where they can cause real damage.

No midfielder in the Bundesliga has played more forward passes than him so far this season (152). And even though he’s not playing it safe, he’s still completed a very impressive 92% of all passes.

He’s doing his bit defensively as well, with 15 tackles and 13 interceptions to help keep his side on the front foot.

Much-needed experience

Favre’s squad is packed with exciting young talent, but those prospects need more experienced players alongside to help guide them through the tough matches.

Witsel is now in the prime of his career. He played a key role in Belgium securing a third-place finish at this summer’s World Cup, starting every game other than the dead-rubber group tie against England.

His importance to his new team is already clear. Club captain Reus is the only outfield player in the squad to have seen more minutes this term.

No time to waste

Witsel may have lots of experience, but this is arguably his first time playing for a club that can compete for major honours.

After breaking through at Standard Liege, he spent a single season at Benfica before moving to Zenit St Petersburg and then Chinese side Tianjin Quanjin.

The Liege-born midfielder has always had the talent to compete on the biggest stages. After waiting so long to get there, now he’ll want to show that he really belongs.

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