Salih Ozcan (l.) joins Borussia Dortmund as a replacement for midfielder Axel Witsel (r.). - © Imago
Salih Ozcan (l.) joins Borussia Dortmund as a replacement for midfielder Axel Witsel (r.). - © Imago

Salih Özcan joins Borussia Dortmund from Cologne


Borussia Dortmund have completed the signing of Cologne midfielder Salih Özcan on a four-year deal through to summer 2026.

Özcan, 24, made 31 Bundesliga appearances as Cologne finished seventh in the 2021/22 standings to secure a place in the UEFA Europa Conference League play-offs.

The Turkey international will be seen as a like-for-like replacement for Axel Witsel, who left Dortmund at the end of the campaign after four years at the club.

Özcan spent 15 years on the books at boyhood club Cologne. He made 95 top-flight appearances for the Billy Goats, producing two goals and five assists, and played 15 times during their 2018/19 promotion-winning campaign. The central midfielder also spent time on loan at Holstein Kiel in Bundesliga 2, registering five goals and seven assists in his 28 games in 2019/20.

"Cologne is my home club, to which I owe an awful lot. I would only have left my city for very few clubs," said Özcan. "Borussia Dortmund's energy, which you can literally feel, plus the opportunity to play regularly in the Champions League, ultimately led me to my decision.

"I'm very happy to be able to develop further at BVB in front of more than 81,000 spectators and to be able to help the team with my way of playing football in the Bundesliga and the Champions League. I'm very ambitious and willing to invest everything for it."

Özcan was part of the Germany team that won the 2021 U21 UEFA European championships, but has since pledged his allegiance to Turkey. He duly made his senior international debut as a substitute in a 3-2 friendly defeat to Italy on 29 March 2022.

"Salih Özcan is one of the climbers in the past Bundesliga season and played a key role in Cologne's successful season in central defensive midfield," said new Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl.

"He's an extremely strong player in one-on-one combat and headers. Someone who goes where it hurts and does everything without compromise to ensure that his team is successful. His mentality and physique, paired with his game intelligence, will do our team good.”