Emre Mor had a hand in all three goals as Borussia Dortmund beat Urawa Red Diamonds 3-2.
Emre Mor had a hand in all three goals as Borussia Dortmund beat Urawa Red Diamonds 3-2.

Emre Mor: Borussia Dortmund's Artful Dodger

For a fleeting moment last weekend, the Saitama Stadium bore an uncanny resemblance to a famous scene in Lionel Bart's Oliver!, when a young Oliver Twist takes his empty gruel bowl to the head of the table and utters, "Please Sir, I want some more."

Emre Mor had just hauled Borussia Dortmund back into their opening Bundesliga World Tour outing against Urawa Red Diamonds with a sensational solo goal but, unlike the inherently antagonistic Mr. Bumble, BVB's Turkish delight was only too happy to satisfy demand.

Three minutes after reducing the arrears, the 20-year-old forward doubled his tally to level the contest. One audacious chipped assist later, and Dortmund had won the day.

The performance was another glimpse into Mor's world-beating proficiency – talent which sparked only sporadically over the course of his debut season at Dortmund in 2016/17. He remains untapped potential personified, but change could be afoot…

Watch: Emre Mor turns the tables on Urawa

For as long as Mor has kicked a ball, his qualities as a footballer have never been in doubt. The Tingbjerg-born starlet was picked up by Danish outfit Nordsjaelland at the age 17, making his first-team debut and receiving his first full senior international cap for Turkey ten and 16 months later respectively.

"What he is capable of is extraordinary," enthused Nordsjaelland head coach Kasper Hjulmand, previously of Bundesliga club Mainz. "He has got so much speed in his feet, and he is so unpredictable. You do not catch him once he’s in full flow - that is plain impossible."

Much like the player himself, Mor's time at his first station as a professional was short and sweet. The pint-sized forward made just 13 appearances in the Danish top flight - registering two goals and as many assists - before signing a five-year deal with Dortmund in summer 2016.

"BVB is a wonderful club in Europe with unique fans," Mor gushed at the time. "I am immensely looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and can hardly wait for the season to begin and to make my debut appearance for Borussia […] I'm capable of anything."

Watch: Mor's maiden Bundesliga goal

For all the hype, Mor's first season of Bundesliga football yielded just one goal and three assists in 12 top-flight appearances. Moments of cultured left-footed brilliance that procured him 'the Turkish Messi' nickname were fleeting at best, but the talent has survived unscathed.

"Emre has a lot of qualities," said new Dortmund head coach Peter Bosz after Mor's match-winning effort from the bench against Urawa. "He showed that again, especially with his two goals, but he has a lot to learn. He needs to learn when he should take players on and when he should pass the ball – but he's young and will learn. It's my job to help him."

Bosz's first impressions are nothing new. Hjulmand, former BVB boss Thomas Tuchel and Turkey manager Fatih Terim will no doubt all agree Mor – with his low centre of gravity, magnetic ball control and mesmeric dribbling - is a master of turning heads, but something has to give to propel him to the next level.

That trigger could come from within or elsewhere. Yet with a clear philosophy for youth development and a strong liking for agile, skillful attackers, ex-Ajax tactician Bosz looks the likeliest catalyst for change. The man to free Dortmund's Artful Dodger from the shackles of potential once and for all.

Chris Mayer-Lodge

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