Making strides at youth level with club and country, Hendry Blank's impressive career trajectory took in a Bundesliga debut for Borussia Dortmund in the Matchday 18 win against Cologne. bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the calm and collected 19-year-old defender.
Data correct as of 21 January 2024
Age: 19 (born 21 August 2004)
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Country: Germany (U20 cap)/Ghana
Key stats and facts
Germany born of Ghanaian descent, Blank was originally a part of Bayer Leverkusen's youth set-up but made the switch to BVB's academy as an Under-16 player back in 2019. After impressing in various levels of the junior Bundesliga for the Black-and-Yellows, the 6'3" central defender won German A youth championship honours.
In the 2022/23 campaign, he appeared seven times in the UEFA Youth League as BVB went all the way to the tournament's quarter finals, while he was integral in helping his side win the Bundesliga West title.
A step up to Borussia Dortmund II, competing in the third tier of German football, followed and his professional bow came in a 2-0 win against SC Freiburg II last August. It wasn't long before he was lining out in the UEFA Youth League again, making four appearances in total as the young Die Schwarzgelben advanced to the tournament's play-offs.
Indeed, it was during this season's European campaign that Blank won a call up to the senior Dortmund squad for a Champions League game against Newcastle United on the very same evening that he had competed against the English side in the Youth League. He was an unused substitute at Signal Iduna Park as as BVB won 2-0, but game time for the seniors was not far off.
Watch: Blank made his Bundesliga bow in BVB's win in Cologne
When Niklas Süle presented with muscle complaints at half-time during Dortmund's 4-0 win away against Cologne, Blank was sent on for the Germany international to make his Bundesliga debut. The central defender was thrust straight into the thick of the action, helping to deny Jan Thielmann a goalscoring opportunity as Dortmund kept a blank sheet.
Blank represented Germany at U20 level on three occasions in 2023.
Plays a bit like: Per Mertesacker
Comparing Blank to a World Cup winner like Mertesacker might be premature, but there are certain parallels between the two. Neither player thought they'd make it at the top level, and Blank is now on the way to joining Mertesacker in achieving that after making his Bundesliga debut. Blank stands at 6'3", somewhat shy of Mertesacker's 6'6", but like his illustrious forebear he also effectively covers for a relative lack of pace with a shrewd reading of the game.
Did you know?
Blank couldn't sleepo after his debut. He kept his calm at the time, but the adrenaline rush came later. "I was in bed around midnight, but I couldn't fall asleep," he said. "That lasted until around 1.30am!"
What they're saying
"Hendry's with us for two reasons: because he's good and because he deserves it. He's done exceptionally well. Hendry is great guy and a hard-working boy who thought he might not make it at the top, but then he comes in and shows he can do it in the Bundesliga." - A delighted Edin Terzić
"Hendry is a fantastic kid and we need to be careful not to rush things along. Just like with everyone else, we're doing our best to prepare him for the next step as best we can." - Borussia Dortmund U-23s head coach Jan Zimmermann speaking to Ruhr Nachrichten.
"When I trained in Dortmund for the first time, I immediately realised, 'I'm in the right place here, I want to play football here.' It was the right decision to move to BVB." - Blank tells Ruhr24 about his first moments in Dortmund after moving from Leverkusen.
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