Jude Bellingham, Thomas Meunier and Emre Can (l-r.) are three signings who could help Borussia Dortmund end their wait to win the Bundesliga in 2021. - © /
Jude Bellingham, Thomas Meunier and Emre Can (l-r.) are three signings who could help Borussia Dortmund end their wait to win the Bundesliga in 2021. - © /
bundesliga

Borussia Dortmund's summer transfers: who have the runners-up signed and what do they bring to the team?

It was back to the drawing board for Dortmund this summer after coming up short to Bayern Munich once again, but with some astute signings in Thomas Meunier, Jude Bellingham and the permanent transfer of Emre Can, Lucien Favre may now have the tools to challenge the Bavarians' recent dominance of the Bundesliga.

bundesliga.com singles out a few of the new recruits who could help Dortmund go one step higher on the podium in 2021…

Thomas Meunier

Nationality: Belgium (40 caps/7 goals)
Position: Full-back/wing-back
Age: 28
Signed from: Paris Saint-Germain

Story so far:

An experienced Belgium international, Meunier has been poached on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, where he won three French Ligue 1 titles, two French Cups and two French League Cups. Previously, the Belgian caught the eye as part of a Club Bruges side who followed their 2015 Belgian Cup triumph with the Belgian League title in 2016, having also helped them reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League. In his early days, Meunier regularly lined up on the right wing, but his pace and defensive ability saw him remodelled by Bruges into a full-back, while PSG's tactics enabled him to sniff more of the grass in the opponents' half during his spell in France, which leads us nicely into…

Role next season:

In addition to offering a robust, reliable presence in defence, he can also chip in at the other end, having registered two assists in 16 Ligue 1 outings for the French champions in 2019/20. That is precisely the kind of player Favre needs for his counter-attacking philosophy. Where Achraf Hakimi provided this additional attacking presence down the wing last season, Meunier can be expected to be given similar freedom to link up with the players in front of him, having won back possession, while his experience should come in handy both on the field and in a particularly young dressing room.

Jude Bellingham

Nationality: England (3 caps/2 goals for the U17s)
Position: Central midfield
Age: 17
Signed from: Birmingham City

Story so far:

When a club retires a particular shirt number in honour of its previous wearer, they have inevitably achieved legend status. You will never see another No.3 at AC Milan, after Paolo Maldini last wore that particular number, Roberto Baggio's No.10 will never be worn by any other Brescia player, while England's World Cup winning captain Bobby Moore's No.6 shirt at West Ham United will only be seen in a museum. Likewise, Birmingham City will no longer offer the No.22 jersey to any other player after Jude Bellingham – their youngest ever debutant and goalscorer – left them to join Dortmund this summer. The 17-year-old's tears at the end of his final match for The Blues showed how strong the reciprocal love was between club and a player who scored four goals and provided three assists, and supplied countless other influential moments, in 44 outings in that now retired number 22 shirt.

Watch: Bellingham's first day at Borussia Dortmund

Role next season:

Birmingham's decision to retire Bellingham's shirt was so he could be seen as an example and inspiration to other players looking to make a name for themselves at the English club, and it is no secret that the English youngster took inspiration of his own from a certain Jadon Sancho, who took the brave step of moving to Dortmund as a teenager. Although their on-field roles are different, Bellingham will nevertheless be aiming to make a similar impact to Sancho in Germany, and given Dortmund's recent history with teenage talents – see Sancho, Gio Reyna and Erling Haaland – he probably won't have to wait long to be given an opportunity. With Favre not one to give unnecessary consideration to a player's date of birth, and with Bellingham's experience as a regular in the English Championship, he is more than ready to assert himself at the heart of the BVB midfield, and show why – for Birmingham at least – he is already a legend.

Emre Can

Nationality: Germany (25 caps/1 goal)
Position: Central midfield
Age: 26
Signed from: Juventus (loan deal made permanent)

Story so far:

Albeit not an entirely new face in Dortmund, Can is now BVB through and through after his initial loan move from Juventus in January was made permanent in the close season. Dortmund and indeed Bundesliga fans have therefore already seen how and why the Germany international strengthens the Dortmund team, bringing with him examples of the trophies the Westphalians will be pursuing next term: Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup, all won with Bayern Munich in their treble-winning 2011/12 season. Subsequently, the versatile midfielder spent another year in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen before joining Liverpool and then moving on to Juve, where he won the Serie A title. A quick trip back to Turin to pick up a second Scudetto winner's medal may still have to fit in with his pre-season commitments.

Watch: Can's tactical impact at Borussia Dortmund

Role next season:

The stability Can brought to the Dortmund midfield during the second half of last season was considerable, and of the 12 games he appeared in, he left the field as a winner on nine occasions. Surrounded by young, vibrant players, it will be Can's role to ensure they all channel their energy in the same direction, pulling the proverbial strings while once again ensuring that steadfast stability in a side which can appear a little top heavy at times, considering their outstanding attacking talent. His versatility will also see him deployed at the heart of the defence whenever there is a shortage there, and with three competitions to challenge for in a shorter than usual season, this additional option will be a more than welcome one for Favre.

Marius Wolf
Nationality:
Germany (1 U20 cap)
Position: Winger
Age: 25
Signed from: Hertha Berlin (end of loan)

Wolf returns from a year on loan at Hertha, having first signed for Dortmund in 2018. If the former Eintracht Frankfurt man does remain with Borussia, he could prove a useful squad player in Favre’s 3-4-3 formation as either a forward or wing-back.

Felix Passlack
Nationality:
Germany (1 U21 cap)
Position: Right-back
Age: 22
Signed from: Fortuna Sittard (end of loan)

Passlack is a BVB academy product and has spent the last three seasons on loan at Hoffenheim, at Norwich City in the English Championship and most recently in the Netherlands with Fortuna Sittard. Capable of playing on both the left and the right of defence, the youngster may prove handy in the current squad.

Sergio Gomez
Nationality:
Spain (1 U21 cap)
Position: Attacking midfielder
Age: 19
Signed from: Huesca (end of loan)

Gomez’s second season as a Dortmund player was spent back in his homeland gaining first-team experience with Huesca in the Spanish second division. The former Barcelona youth player featured in 36 of a possible 42 league games as Huesca ensured promotion by topping the table. The attacking midfielder adds yet more firepower to the BVB offence.

Sergio Gomez enjoyed a successful loan spell with Huesca in Spain’s second division. - Mutsu Kawamori via www.imago-images.de/imago images/AFLOSPORT

Dzenis Burnic
Nationality:
Germany (3 U21 caps)/Bosnia-Herzegovina
Position: Defensive midfield
Age: 22
Signed from: Dynamo Dresden (end of loan)

Burnic is another Borussia academy graduate and has spent the last two seasons earning his stripes with VfB Stuttgart and Dynamo Dresden. After suffering relegation with both, he’ll be hopeful of featuring in a title-chasing team.

Departures

Mario Götze
Nationality:
Germany (63 caps, 17 goals – 1 to win the World Cup!)
Position: Attacking midfielder
Age: 28
Joining: -

His first Dortmund departure famously stunned Jürgen Klopp when told Götze was leaving for arch-rivals Bayern in 2013. He would then return after three years having won Germany the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Injuries and the impact of a metabolic disorder have constantly hampered the winner of the 2011 Golden Boy award, and he leaves Borussia for a second time after the end of his contract.

Watch: Götze's top 3 Bundesliga goals

Andre Schürrle
Nationality:
Germany (57 caps, 22 goals)
Position: Winger
Age: 29
Joining: Retired

Schürrle had spent the last season on loan in Russia with Spartak Moscow, but the man with the World Cup-winning assist for Götze has decided that it’s time to hang up his boots. After coming through at Mainz as part of the famed “Bruchweg Boys” alongside Lewis Holtby and Adam Szalai, he also played for Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea, Wolfsburg and Fulham.

Achraf Hakimi
Nationality:
Morocco (28 caps, 2 goals)/Spain
Position: Full-back
Age: 21
Joining: Real Madrid (end of loan)

Hakimi was one of Dortmund’s star performers in 2019/20, wreaking havoc from wing-back with nine goals and 10 assists in all competitions. It was the second campaign of his two-year loan from Real Madrid, leaving big boots for Meunier to fill in that position. The Spain-born Morocco international has since joined Inter Milan in Italy.

Watch: Hakimi, born to play football

Leonardo Balerdi
Nationality:
Argentina (2 caps)
Position: Centre-back
Age: 21
Joining: Marseille (on loan)

Signed from Boca Juniors in January 2019, Balerdi dipped his toe into the Bundesliga waters at the back end of last season with six appearances across the final nine matchdays. Competition in defence is fierce, so the young Argentine is going out on loan to Marseille in France for a year.

Ömer Toprak
Nationality:
Turkey (27 caps, 2 goals)/Germany
Position: Centre-back
Age: 30
Joining: Werder Bremen (loan made permanent)

Toprak’s 2019/20 loan deal at Bremen has turned into a full transfer, ending his three-year stint on the Dortmund books. The Ravensburg-born centre-back, who plays internationally for Turkey, previously represented Freiburg and Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.