It’s very hard to be optimistic about Borussia Dortmund at the moment. The famous black-and-yellow side from the Westfalenstadion are currently in the midst of their worst-ever start to a Bundesliga season and sit level with Freiburg at the bottom of the German league table.
Yet with the winter break comes a renewed sense of purpose and with Jurgen Klopp’s boundless enthusiasm and desire to constantly improve comes a player who could turn Dortmund’s season around, starting with a trip to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
Kevin Kampl is his name and he may well be the new signing that could save Dortmund’s dreadful season.
What this new player will undoubtedly offer Dortmund fans as they begin fantasising about the remaining season ahead is goals. Goals, goals and even more goals, that will undoubtedly translate into a side that has come to an abrupt stop in its quest to play attacking football this season.
Klopp has clearly realised that despite whatever may be wrong with his side this season the priority between now and May is getting his players scoring goals once again.
This is where Kampl should quite comfortably fit in. According to Transfermarkt, the German-born midfielder has amassed an incredible 11 goals and 16 assists in 31 games for his former club Red Bull Salzburg this season. A tally that totally overcomes any of Dortmund’s best performers in this current campaign.
As Salzburg fans will be able to testify to, Kampl is at his absolute best when arriving late in the box or picking up a pass or cross from the edge of the area. The 24-year-old truly thrives in front of a wary defence and tends to score or assist when given space or time on the ball.
Although the club’s forwards Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos have both been far form prolific this season, with only eight and six goals respectively in all competitions, Klopp will be expressing a real concern as to the lack of goals he’s been getting from midfield.
Striker-turned-midfielder Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may be firing on all cylinders in front of goal but aside from the Gabonese player and the currently injured Marco Reus, Klopp can look no further than a solitary goal from Ilkay Gundogan for goals from his talented midfield.
Dortmund desperately need to get their midfield scoring goals again and in Kampl the former German champions may finally have someone who can inject that excitement and talent into the side.
Although Kampl may be renowned for his strong ability in front of goal and his bag full of assists for Salzburg, he is actually better suited to playing in the centre of the pitch as something of an attacking central midfielder.
Any suggestions that the Slovenian international may have been purchased as a possible replacement for Reus seem ill-advised, when in fact Kampl will most likely be playing through the centre of the pitch whenever his preference comes up for Klopp.
This can in turn offer even more solace to troubled Dortmund fans. With the return of their star player on the left wing and the likes of Jakub Blaszczykowski and Aubameyang on the right it would seem as though the centre of the park is perhaps the only spot that Kampl could find some game time.
It just so happens that at this moment in time Dortmund don’t have a sure-enough No.10 to pick from. Shinji Kagawa has hardly hit the ground running since returning to the Bundesliga, Ilkay Gundogan is still finding his old form and the less said about Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goalscoring or general build-up play in this campaign, the better.
Kampl may provide cover across the entire attacking arsenal of Dortmund’s midfield, but it will be in the centre of the pitch that he’ll most likely offer the most use and the greatest contrast to the atrocious performances we saw prior to the winter break.
Dortmund need goals from midfield if they want to push back up the Bundesliga table and Kampl may just be the man to do that.