Antonios Papadopoulos has been playing with the Borussia Dortmund senior and reserve teams during pre-season. - © imago
Antonios Papadopoulos has been playing with the Borussia Dortmund senior and reserve teams during pre-season. - © imago

Antonios Papadopoulos: Who is Borussia Dortmund's answer to Mark van Bommel?


Marco Rose singled out Antonios Papadopoulos for praise despite Borussia Dortmund's July 2021 friendly defeat to Bochum - but who is he? finds out...

Antonios Papadopoulos

Age: 21
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Position: Defensive midfielder
Country: Germany/ Greece (uncapped)

Key stats

Germany-born but of Greek descent, Papadopoulos joined Dortmund's reserve team in June 2021 on a free transfer from Halle. The 6'1" midfielder previously enjoyed four seasons of professional football in the 3. Liga, making 14 appearances for Aalen and 60 in the colours of Halle. He produced three goals and five assists from his favoured holding role, whilst collecting 18 yellow cards - but only one red.

Papadopoulos made his senior Dortmund debut as part of the five-time Bundesliga winners' preparations for the 2021/22 campaign. The naturally right-footed forager played the entire second half of BVB's 2-0 win over Gießen, and the first period of the 3-1 defeat to Bochum, in which all three opposition goals fell after his withdrawal. He opened his Schwarzgelben account for the U23s with a near-post header in a friendly against Paphos.

Translation: Half-time in Schwaz. Still no goals between the BVB U23s and Paphos FC.
Antonios Papadopoulos wins the day - the BVB U23s follow up their win over Paderborn by beating Paphos.

Plays a bit like: Mark van Bommel

Athletic, rangy, capable of pinging a pass and never happier than when throwing himself into a challenge, Papadopoulos has an air of Mark van Bommel about him.

Wolfsburg's new coach represented PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and the Netherlands during a storied playing career that ruffled countless opposition feathers.

"This is the first time I've been pushed over the limit," said Spain legend Andres Iniesta of a 2010 FIFA World Cup final meeting with 'The Punisher'.

Did you know?

Papadopoulos' tenacious approach earned him 'The Terrier' nickname at Halle.

At Dortmund, he also goes by 'Papa', in a nod to Greek defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who made 198 appearances for the club between July 2013 and 2018.

'Big Papa Pump' could be next on the list of monikers for a player delivering his own take on wrestler Scott Steiner's eponymous submission move.

Hard graft and defensive dirty work come naturally to Papadopoulos (r.). - imago

What they're saying

"We put in a lot of good challenges, but Papa stood out. I hope to see more of that from him." - Rose on Papadopoulos's showing against Bochum

"They way he goes into tackles, it's a fine line to avoid being booked, but we need players like him. He barely gives himself a moment's breath." - Papadopoulos' former coach at Halle, Torsten Ziegner