Thorgan Hazard, Axel Witsel and Thomas Meunier could be a key Borussia Dortmund-trio for Belgium at the Euros this summer. - © DFL
Thorgan Hazard, Axel Witsel and Thomas Meunier could be a key Borussia Dortmund-trio for Belgium at the Euros this summer. - © DFL

Axel Witsel, Thorgan Hazard and Thomas Meunier: Borussia Dortmund stars heading Belgium's Euro 2020 tilt

With Axel Witsel, Thorgan Hazard and Thomas Meunier all named in Belgium's Euro 2020 squad, it will be more a case of Bel-russia than Borussia Dortmund when the trio put their club roles to one side and head off for international duty this summer. takes a look at how the Signal Iduna Park stars could prove crucial to the Red Devils' chances when the Euros roll around.

Axel Witsel
Age: 32
2020/21 Bundesliga appearances/goals: 15/0
Position: Central-midfield

Witsel's inclusion in Roberto Martinez's squad may have raised some eyebrows, given the 32-year-old midfielder hasn't featured for Dortmund since tearing an Achilles tendon half an hour into the 3-1 victory over RB Leipzig on Matchday 15 of the Bundesliga campaign.

He had been a regular up until that point and Witsel would have played a major part in proceedings for BVB over the course of the remainder of the season, were it not for that injury.

His influence on the pitch and in the dressing room will be significant and, as he stepped up his rehabilitation by getting back on the training ground with the national team this week, Martinez explained he was "very confident" that Witsel "could have a big role" to play in the competition.

"Witsel is recovering well and working really hard to be completely fit and is ahead of his recovery schedule," said the Belgium coach. "A European Championship is made up of two tournaments and if you want to be successful you have to take a different mentality into the knockout phase. That is where Axel is going to be most important."

With 110 international caps to Witsel's name and having previously featured in two FIFA World Cups - one of which saw Belgium finish third in 2018 - as well as a European Championship, it's easy to see Martinez's point.

The player himself took to Twitter to express his "pride to be selected in the national squad for this summer's tournament", where his composure, passing ability and experience will be a major asset for the number one ranked team in world football.

Thorgan Hazard
Age: 28
2020/21 Bundesliga appearances/goals: 16/1
Position: Winger

Hazard has had his own share of injury struggles this season and missed 12 games from Matchdays 11-22 with a muscle problem.

Following his MD23 return against Arminia Bielefeld, though, the 28-year-old winger went on to feature in all but one of Dortmund's remaining league matches as BVB romped into third place and lifted the DFB Cup.

Thorgan Hazard (c., r.) played influential an influential hand en route to Borussia Dortmund lifting the DFB Cup trophy. - TimGroothuis via TEAM2sportphoto/Groothuis/Witters/Pool/Witters

One of Hazard's four goals in 2020/21 came in the cup semi-final, while he played a key role as a second half substitute as Edin Terzic's team beat RB Leipzig to the trophy in the final.

The two most recent of Hazard's 33 international caps proved his importance to Martinez's side, as he set up former Wolfsburg man Kevin De Bruyne for Belgium's first and then scored their second in the come-from-behind 3-1 victory over Wales in FIFA World Cup qualifying.

Having missed the subsequent 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic, Hazard returned to the left of Belgium's four-man midfield in the 8-0 mauling of Belarus and he looks well set to do so again when he and his countrymen - including brother Eden - take on Russia in their Group B opener on 12 June.

Thomas Meunier
Age: 29
2020/21 Bundesliga appearances/goals: 21/1
Position: Right-back

Like Hazard, Meunier played a pivotal role in those World Cup qualifying wins, and his absence the only time they dropped points in Czechia similarly doesn't appear to have been a coincidence.

It was Meunier - operating from the opposite flank to Hazard - that assisted his club and country teammate against Wales, while he also set up Hans Vanaken for the second goal of Belgium's Belarus drubbing.

The Borussia Dortmund trio - alongside Thorgan Hazard's brother Eden - were all part of the Belgium side that finished third at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. - imago/Aleksandar Djorovic

And despite losing his right-back spot to Lukasz Piszczek at the back end of the season, Meunier's first campaign in Germany should be viewed as a success considering he has a cup winners' medal on his mantlepiece and UEFA Champions League football to look forward to next year.

Meunier's defensive influence was considerable when you take a look at the stats, too. Dortmund kept 10 clean sheets in 21 matches with Meunier on the pitch, compared to just one in 13 without the 29-year-old featuring.

Hertha Berlin defender Dedryck Boyata is the other Bundesliga representative in the Belgian squad, and he - like his compatriots back home - will be looking to Witsel, Hazard and Meunier to lead the charge as they go in search of a first major international trophy.