Dani Olmo's contributions have been very important for Marco Rose's side. - © DFL/Getty Images/Lukas Schulze
Dani Olmo's contributions have been very important for Marco Rose's side. - © DFL/Getty Images/Lukas Schulze
bundesliga

Dani Olmo: Leipzig magician and Spain's X factor at the Euro 2024

xwhatsappmailcopy-link

RB Leipzig's El Mago Dani Olmo has lit up the Bundesliga with some wonderful moments of magic this past season, bundesliga.com gives you the lowdown on a potential Euro 2024 star...

Donning the number 10 for Spain at the Euros in Germany, Olmo will undoubtedly be one of the key players to watch during the tournament. 

In a season of transition for Leipzig following the departures of big stars such as Christopher Nkunku and Dominik Szoboszlai, Olmo has shone alongside his new partners in crime, namely Loïs Openda, Xavi Simons and Benjamin Šeško.

Despite recurring injury issues, the Spaniard still put up encouraging numbers during the season and remains a key difference maker for club and country.

Watch: All of Dani Olmo's 2023/24 Bundesliga goals & assists

In Marco Rose's 4-2-2-2 system, Olmo occupies one of the two number 10 spots, normally on the left. However, the Spaniard is well capable of playing further forward as a false nine or even being deployed as a winger depending on the setup.

Where he does his best work, is between the opposition lines and in that regard, he has a great deal of freedom to float across the final third to combine with his fellow attackers to create chances.

Rose stations Olmo high up the pitch for this exact reason - when Leipzig bait the opposition press, and the spaces open up, there are few better than Olmo who can pick out the right pass.

"Where I feel most comfortable is in the middle of the pitch, between the lines behind the striker," explained Olmo, in an interview with Sky Sports.

"That is where my team-mates know me best. I like to receive the ball, dribble, get into the position to shoot, to make that last pass, to make the combinations with my team-mates. I just like to play with the ball."

Olmo is the master of the killer pass. - DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga

Olmo's style of play and his technical ease with the ball in the middle of the park makes all the more sense given that he's from the famed La Masia academy of Barcelona. Spending his formative years as a youth footballer there has given him a strong creative foundation that shines through to this day in his style of play.

The former Dinamo Zagreb playmaker is full of tricks with his passes and shots, able to pull out trivela passes, rabona crosses, outside of the boot through balls - you name it, Olmo's got it. 

He showed all of that in the very first game of the season, against Bayern of all opponents in the DFL Super Cup. Scoring his first within the first three minutes of the game, Olmo proceeded to stamp his authority on the tie with an incredible hat-trick of goals, giving Leipzig a 3-0 win and another piece of silverware.

The second goal of the match showed Olmo's wizardry on the ball in full flight - receiving a pass from Timo Werner with his back to goal, he then pulled off a seemingly impossible reverse 360 dribble to escape into the space behind Matthijs de Ligt and then nutmegging Sven Ulreich for the goal. Only he knows how he managed to maintain his balance during that play.

It is the kind of quality that has seen him score four goals and assist a further five in the Bungesliga this term. When you consider the injuries he has suffered, managing that tally of goals in about 21 league appearances is impressive.

Injuries hampered a dream start to the season where he accumulated some eight goal contributions across seven games in all competitions.

Xavi and Olmo have struck up an excellent creative understanding. - DFL/Getty Images/Sebastian Widmann

Olmo's creative responsibilities have been lightened by the arrival of Xavi on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, whose youthful energy and dynamism in the final third has made him the perfect addition to Rose's starting eleven.

"Xavi is a different player. He has showed that since he arrived," said Olmo, earlier this season.

"We connect really well on the pitch, but he also can do things on his own. He has an amazing dribbling technique, and can finish as well. He's a really complete player and for us, for our system, for how we play, our idea, the coach's idea, it is perfect for us"

Both the playmakers are Leipzig leaders for dribbles attempted with Olmo attempting nearly half (49) of Xavi's 96 Bundesliga dribbles. The Spaniard may not be one of the fastest players in the league in terms of his speed but he more than makes up for it with his decision-making and ability to decide games all on his own.

Watch: Xavi, Openda, Olmo - Leipzig's magic triangle

In a Leipzig team that seemingly continues to get younger and younger each season with talents coming to the Red Bull Arena, Olmo at the age of 26 has become something of a senior figure at the club.

"I feel important. Last season we lost important players, like Domi, Christo, Koni (Konrad Laimer), Josko... but I think the players that came in are really good," said Olmo at the start of the season. "They have ambition to win and this is really important to us. This is just the beginning."

Adding players like Lois Openda and Bejamin Šeško have been perfect additions from the Leipzig recruitment team who have identified attackers that can benefit the most from Olmo's vision and creative capacity.

"On the pitch, also, I try to think about every movement, not just to move left because the ball is going left," he said.

"I am always trying to find the best solutions when I have the ball and when I do not have the ball. Either for me or for the teammate, to create space for other guys or even for myself. I just try to do everything for a reason not just doing it for [the sake of] doing it."

Watch: Olmo stars in Union Berlin 0-3 RB Leipzig

Against Union Berlin on matchday three, Olmo showed just devastatingly good he can be, combining with teammates closer to the opposition box.

Recording one assist in the game, for Šeško's second - Olmo initiated the sequence by turning a driven pass from Xaver Schlager around the onrushing Union defender Danilho Doekhi to find the Slovenian. The two combined delightfully in a one-two move that left the Union defence shellshocked, with Šeško heading past a helpless Frederik Rønnow. A goal well worth watching time and again.

It's the kind of ingenuity that Leipzig fans as well as Bundesliga neutrals alike have come to expect from the Olmo.

It's that quality of his which will make him an X factor for his country during the Euros as well.

Under Spain coach Luis de la Fuente, he has become much more of a mainstay in the Spanish senior side and is expected to play a key role in La Roja's performances during the tournament in Germany.

Surround him with pace and intelligent movement and Olmo will take care of the rest all by himself. Much like Leipzig, Spain carry many a young player and fresh blood into the Euros.

A fully fit and firing Olmo can help Spain pull a surprise or two out of their bag. Magicians like him always have a trick up their sleeve.