Despite being the butt of the joke for their inability to get the job done, one thing Borussia Dortmund can’t be beaten on is their talent factory, which churns out young ballers at an alarming rate.
It’s perhaps their biggest kryptonite while also being their biggest selling point, but Dortmund can be proud of the way they provide an environment for young talent across Europe to settle in and thrive before moving on to take over the world.
At this point, we’re becoming convinced that they could take one of us ordinary and hideously unfit folk and somehow turn us into a somewhat capable footballer.
That might be more impressive than any other world-beater they can claim to have nurtured to stardom.
From Jude Bellingham to Erling Haaland and more recently Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Der BVB have a sick obsession with being bloody good at spotting exceptional, raw talent and developing it into unfathomable potential and superstardom.
The way it’s going, Paris Brunner might be the next star to graduate from their famed setup.
Born in 2006, Brunner has just proven indispensable to Germany as they lifted the under-17 World Cup, becoming the first from his country to win the tournament’s Golden Ball award since Toni Kroos did back in 2007.
He was barely a year old at that point. Sickening.
What is almost as sickening is how talented the 17-year-old already is and the ceiling he has to his game.
Operating primarily from wide positions but capable of playing as a striker, the German youth international combines wicked pace with exceptionally clean footwork and movement off the ball, to find himself in brilliant chances to score a goal.
Reading the game in the final third tremendously well for his age, his potential has shown already this season with 10 goals from eight games in the under-19 Bundesliga West, while having also broken into Dortmund’s UEFA Youth League side.
Albeit still incredibly raw – highlighted by a brief disciplinary issue earlier this season which has since been resolved – Brunner is a pure talent. Watching him, it becomes abundantly clear that his brain is wired purely for the game.
And when you combine that with being inspired by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, you’re almost definitely on the right path at his age.
Brunner scored twice and bagged a penalty as Germany knocked Argentina out of the U17 World Cup semi-final, before scoring again in the final and celebrating with Ronaldo’s iconic ‘SIUU!’ celebration.
Don’t get it twisted, though. His tournament wasn’t a lightning-in-a-bottle scenario, but merely him announcing himself to a global audience.
A sublime prospect. It’s a surprise watching him and learning that he’s yet to play a minute of senior football for Dortmund’s first team, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he makes that breakthrough before the end of the 2023-24 campaign.
Reports state that the club are keen to tie him down to his first professional contract and get him involved in their upcoming winter training camp in Marbella. It’s very clear to see why. The kid has got it.
Edin Terzic isn’t afraid to trust youth and the integration of Bynoe-Gittens is a testament to that.
With Der BVB misfiring in the goals department compared to the likes of Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen, the solution could be the fearlessness and pure potential of Brunner, who’s brimming with talent and has an extraordinary IQ for decimating opponents in the final third already.
This is just the beginning for Brunner, for both club and country.
If he can fulfil his potential, Die Mannschaft could finally have their savour after years of post-2014 turmoil.
By Mitch Wilks