One of the big talking points of the January transfer window was the Aubameyang-Giroud-Batshuayi transfer triangle. On deadline day the saga was about to come to an end, but there was still doubts surrounding Batshuayi and Giroud’s destination. In a press conference on Tuesday Chelsea’s manager Antonio Conte said the Belgian striker has trained with the team and is in contention for the game against Bournemouth. That, however, proved to be not true. After hesitating over Giroud’s transfer fee the Blues finally got their man for 18 million pounds. That meant that ‘Batsman’ was heading to Dortmund.
Batshuayi’s signing certainly made more sense for BVB than Giroud or Anthony Modeste. The 24-year-old wasn’t able to earn the trust of Conte but his overall attribute made him an ideal fit for the Black and Yellows, a young versatile player who gets involved in the buildup play and can function with his back to goal, unlike his predecessor Aubameyang. And of course the Belgian has an eye for goal, his minutes per goal ratio at Chelsea this season- only bettered by Morata and Hazard- is a full testament to that. Batshuayi was looking for a new start, a new challenge, and more playing time. Dortmund was looking for a younger, talented striker- who hopefully won’t miss club meetings- and who can pull them out of their recent bad form.
If Batshuayi’s move looked ideal on paper what happened in Friday Night’s game against Cologne was a full proof of the shrewd signing BVB has made.
’90 minutes, two goals, an assist & a great victory… dream debut with BVB’- was the tweet of a striker who just made his opportunity count. The loan deal may extend beyond the summer or Batshuayi may return to Chelsea, given that Conte may not still be there, but what we witnessed on Match Day 21’s first game is an indication of a new love affair starting.
You can’t expect not to suffer after losing a striker who has scored 98 league goals and 141 in total over 4 and half years. Dortmund knows that all too well. They know that failing to replace your top striker can have a diminishing effect. When Robert Lewandowski made his move to Bayern in the summer of 2014, the Black and Yellows opted to sign two strikers to feel his shoes: Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos. Both strikers failed to make an impact and it would be one of the most horrendous couple of months in BVB’s recent history. The side was locked level on points with last placed Freiburg at the end of the Hinrunde. After that Klopp made Aubameyang his first choice striker and BVB never looked back, until now. Memories of that conundrum may have flashed in the faces of the BVB board when they were about to lose Aubameyang to Arsenal, even worse in January. There wasn’t enough time to find a proper replacement. But what was expendable for Chelsea is about to become a crown jewel for Dortmund.
Cologne is perhaps not the toughest opponents BVB will face this season. But the Billy Goats have gathered 10 points from their last 4 games in their quest to avoid the drop. Their striker Simon Terodde, who just signed from Stuttgart in January, had 3 goals from the last 3 games. BVB on the other had were yet to taste a single victory in 2018, with 3 draws from 3 games further denting their hopes of finishing in the top four.
But on comes Batshuayi, first game after only training for 2 days with his new teammates, and he looked right at home. His movement, his passes, his awareness and of course his finishing were top notch. The striker may well have had a hat-trick in his debut but saw his goal from close range ruled out for offside. He is the 2nd player to score more than one goal in his Bundesliga debut; the other one was of course his predecessor who grabbed a hat-trick against Augsburg back in 2013.
Batsman is not the answer to all of BVB’s problems. The side is still unsure defensively. The back line was all over the place as they conceded 2 goals to Cologne. There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. With their new striker leading the front line and key player Marco Reus on his way back from a lengthy injury , Dortmund can be a happy place again. And Batshuayi’s personality and Twitter presence is certainly a bonus for BVB fans, who value character as much as ability.
There is a new Batman in town and the town is smiling. When asked why he joined Borussia Dortmund after the game Friday’s man of the match said:
‘I love Borussia Dortmund. Black and Yellow are my favorite colors because I love Batman and SpongeBob’. Batman has started his mission on a high. Long may it continue!
Writer: Brook Genene