Mahmoud Dahoud (top) has taken a significant step forward in his Borussia Dortmund career since Lucien Favre took over as head coach. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Mahmoud Dahoud (top) has taken a significant step forward in his Borussia Dortmund career since Lucien Favre took over as head coach. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Mahmoud Dahoud coming of age at Borussia Dortmund under Lucien Favre

When Lucien Favre arrived at the Signal Iduna Park in May, you'd have expected Mahmoud Dahoud to be one of the most delighted members of the Borussia Dortmund squad, having sparkled when the two were together at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

However, the opposite was true. "For me it was more of an inconvenience," Dahoud told Sport Bild about working with Favre once more. "He knows my strengths, so when I don't deliver he knows I'm not at 100 per cent."

Yet if Favre's presence in keeping Dahoud on his toes continues to produce the impressive displays seen so far in 2018/19, the midfielder will surely not be complaining. The Swiss tactician was charged with letting Dahoud and this wealth of youthful talent in the Dortmund stable off the leash, and he has not disappointed.

- © imago

Greater opportunity will surely further aid Dahoud's development and, having only started 11 times in the Bundesliga during that first year, his five so far under Favre already this term are clear signs of trust in, and reward for, the player.

Dahoud is already repaying that faith, highlighted by his second-half appearance in that dramatic 3-2 win over Bayern that felt like a breakout moment. The Syrian-born Germany Under-21 international was the spark that injected verve to Dortmund's inspired turnaround.

It showcased the very best of a player whose industry - on paper - should serve as an antonym to the vision, touch and enormous composure on the ball that are also hallmarks of his trade.

This is a man, after all, who ended last year third in the league table of most distance covered per 90 minutes, with an average of eight miles per match. There has been no let up this year with Dahoud already averaging just over eight in the early stages of 2018/19. Not only that, he seems to be getting quicker having bumped up his 2017/18 top speed from 19.7 to 20.6 mph.

But for all the obvious positives associated with working with the man that helped shape the hard-working playmaker he has already become, it is testament to Dahoud's character that he expects to earn every opportunity that comes his way, especially given the tough competition for places in central midfield alongside Axel Witsel, Thomas Delaney and Julian Weigl.

Watch: The new-look Dortmund under Favre

Dahoud notes the "high quality in the squad" but also knows that during the course of a long season, chances will arise and that he must continue to impress a most familiar boss. "Everyone wants to play and perform in training and if you play every three days, you have to rotate as well, so the coach has a good hand," said Dahoud.

He's not wrong. Favre has a deck of cards in midfield that are the envy of most managers. There is bite, experience, artistry, youthful exuberance, versatility; just about everything dripping from these central midfield face cards. In Dahoud, he may just have his wildcard; a player who boasts each of these attributes and more, while also capable of the kind of unpredictability that inspires the forward-thinking style of football Favre demands of his players.

- © imago / Jan Huebner