With Erling Haaland and Youssoufa Moukoko absent for Borussia Dortmund's final match of 2020, interim coach Edin Terzic called on U23s captain Steffen Tigges.
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Country: Germany (four U20 caps)
Tigges joined VfL Osnabrück as a 13-year-old in 2011 and went on to make his professional debut with the club in a 3. Liga match against FC Erzgebirge Aue on 12 December 2015. He would make 11 further appearances that season, and scored for the first time in senior football on the final day of the campaign in a 3-1 defeat to SC Fortuna Köln.
After eight years, 88 appearances and six goals for Osnabrück, Tigges made the decision to move to Dortmund in the summer of 2019, despite helping Osnabrück claim the Third Division title. Instead of stepping up to Bundesliga 2, Tigges stepped down to the fourth tier of German football with the aim of reaching the Bundesliga quicker via Dortmund's second string. He was also seeking further opportunities in his preferred position of centre-forward, having featured at either left-back or left midfield in the majority of his 25 outings in his final season with Osnabrück.
Tigges made an almost instant impact leading the Dortmund line, finding the net in the 5-0 pre-season win over Energie Cottbus, just seven minutes after entering the pitch, and two months after joining the club, in a team that included Mahmoud Dahoud, Mario Götze, Mats Hummels and Lukasz Piszczek. He went on to score nine goals and lay on 10 assists in his first season with the BVB U23s, and has already bagged a further 12 goals and seven provisions in 18 appearances in the current campaign, captaining the side into second place going into the new year.
That led to his inclusion in the senior team for their 2-0 victory over Braunschweig in the DFB Cup second round, where he had a total of five efforts on goal, created one chance, won 64 percent of his tackles and found a teammate with 82 percent of his passes.
Plays a bit like: Erling Haaland
Left-footed, a physical specimen that stands at 6'5" with broad, fridge-like shoulders, blonde hair swept to one side and a love for scoring goals - you would be excused for mistaking Tigges for Haaland from afar.
Sure, Haaland's rise has been somewhat more meteoric than Tigges', but their similarities in stature and the way they play their football is plain to see. To get that Haaland impression down to a tee, Tigges just needs to start firing by the bucket-load in the Bundesliga...
Watch: Goal-hungry Erling Haaland smashing records
Did you know?
Steffen has a twin brother called Leon who is also a footballer, with the pair coming up through the Osnabrück ranks together as kids. With Leon - who now plays for VfL Vichttal in the fifth-tier of German football - earning a living as a goalkeeper, the Tigges boys will have no doubt honed their respective skills up against each other in the back garden in their youth. It certainly would have saved arguments over who went in goal and who was out on pitch.
What they're saying
“He played a very good game for us, for the team. He was disappointed that he didn’t score a goal. He ran the routes he had to run. But that wasn’t the main thing today, and we told him that from the start. He won the ball back and held the ball up. We are very happy with him and his performance.” - Terzic after Tigges' debut in the DFB Cup
"I love putting the ball in the net. There's nothing like it, maybe when a defender makes a tackle. It's the best bit about what I do." - Tigges on scoring goals