Niklas Dorsch (l.) is ready to put into practice all he learnt from training together with Thiago Alcantara (r.) as he returns to the Bundesliga with Augsburg this season. - © imago/ DFL
Niklas Dorsch (l.) is ready to put into practice all he learnt from training together with Thiago Alcantara (r.) as he returns to the Bundesliga with Augsburg this season. - © imago/ DFL
bundesliga

Niklas Dorsch keen to be Augsburg's Thiago Alcantara

Niklas Dorsch already has a Bundesliga winner's medal from his time with Bayern Munich, but more than the silverware, it was what he learned from playing alongside Thiago Alcantara which the new Augsburg midfielder cherishes most from his previous spell in Bavaria.

The former Germany U21 international is back in Bavaria after a season with Belgian club Gent and he will be looking to do at the heart of the Augsburg midfield what Thiago did over seven successful seasons with Bayern, having moulded his own game around that of the current Liverpool and Spain midfield metronome.

"In a footballing sense, with regards to the position I play in, Thiago was always a player I looked up to and tried to learn from," Dorsch told Kicker magazine. "He's absolutely world class and of course that’s the level you want to attain."

"I'm watching you closely!" – Niklas Dorsch, playing for Heidenheim, follows Thiago Alcantara closely in a 2019 DFB Cup quarter-final. - via www.imago-images.de/imago images / Plusphoto

The pair spent a season training regularly together in 2017/18, and Dorsch says he benefited immensely from the experience, even if he continued to rack up the minutes in Bayern's reserve team every weekend.

"It was extremely helpful for my development," continued Dorsch. "Of course it's not very easy to begin with, when you're a young player and you look around the dressing room and see the top stars to your left and your right.

"When you get to see [Thiago] up close, then you know what goes into him being how he is. This elegance, the way he plays on the ball, the spaces he moves into. Without even looking, he knows what's going on behind him and that's the sort of ability you don't see very often in the world. He uses the talent he's got to perfection."

Watch: Thiago Alcantara's top five skills for Bayern Munich

In addition to training together, the pair spent over half an hour on the pitch together in the Bundesliga, with both getting their names on the scoresheet on what proved to be Dorsch's one and only outing in the Bayern first-team, a 4-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

He spent the next two seasons with Heidenheim in Bundesliga 2 before joining Gent in 2020. The 23-year-old was an almost ever-present in the Belgian side last term and inspired Germany's U21s to European glory in the summer before moving to Augsburg, where he believes he can now take the next step in his career.

"Augsburg are the perfect club for me," he said. "[Head coach Markus Weinzierl] sees me in the No.6 position and is expecting me to take on responsibility. That's my aim, even if I'm still one of the younger players.

"You can influence the game a lot from my position and I'm expecting to bring the best out of myself there."