Maximilian Philipp: Borussia Dortmund's next Marco Reus?
Despite the dazzling array of attacking talent already on the books at Borussia Dortmund, it’s becoming increasingly evident why Maximilian Philipp was prised away from Freiburg on a five-year deal this summer, with his brace in the 6-1 rout of Borussia Mönchengladbach taking his tally to four goals and two assists in six games for Die Schwarzgelben.
BVB already boasted the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Christian Pulisic, Mario Götze and Shinji Kagawa to fill their line-up, but it is with another of Dortmund's stars that Philipp’s performances echo most: Marco Reus.
Watch: Philipp's best Bundesliga goal to date?
Just as Reus before him, Philipp joined Dortmund as a 23-year-old, coming off the back of an outstanding Bundesliga season. The newcomer is also two-footed, blessed with a quick turn of pace, excellent technique and the ability to play in a number of positions across the front line. In short, like Reus, he has all the attributes required to fit in at Dortmund.
'Milli', as he is known to team-mates, started out in the Hertha Berlin youth academy before ending up in Freiburg in January 2013 at the age of 18, following stints at Tennis Borussia Berlin and Energie Cottbus. He made swift progress into the first team and in 2014/15 made 24 Bundesliga appearances for Freiburg, playing 31 games the following year as they earned promotion back to the top flight as second division champions.
Philipp's star truly began to rise during the 2016/17 season. He was fielded on both flanks, as a centre forward and second striker for Freiburg, scoring nine and providing two assists to help the Black Forest club secure UEFA Europa League qualification.
He did so in just 25 games, having suffered with a muscle tear for part of the campaign. He also has an eye for long-range strikes, finding the target three times from distance last term – a return bettered only by Emil Forsberg and Markus Suttner.
Watch: Philipp: "Upsetting to concede!"
The signs were already there that he would become a success under new coach Peter Bosz at the Signal Iduna Park. Now, having followed the path from Freiburg to Dortmund previously trodden by former captain Sebastian Kehl and current team-mate Roman Bürki, Philipp looks on course to nestle beside them in the annals of the club’s great signings.
"It's hard to say no when Dortmund come knocking," he told the club website after signing. "They're one of the biggest clubs in Germany and the whole world. I'm just happy to have the honour of being here. You never know how often chances like this will come around and I think I'm old enough and mature enough to take this step."
And so it has proved. "It's pretty intimidating when you see the Yellow Wall. There are 80,000 fans in the stadium cheering Dortmund on. It's incredible." And like Reus before him, Philipp is fast becoming a fan favourite for the BVB faithful.