With Jude Bellingham, THE key player of the past season left BVB for Real Madrid. The young Englishman’s departure was anything but surprising, which is why it’s long been clear that BVB are on the hunt for a new eighth for the 2023/2024 season.
A clear favorite has established itself for a long time, which Borussia have already agreed on, according to the media: Felix Nmecha should wear the black and yellow jersey in the future.
In all likelihood, the new national player will take on Bellingham’s difficult legacy. Is Nmecha up to the task and does it fit the profile you are looking for? We address these and other questions in the OF Scouting Report.
Who is this?
In the summer of 2021, an almost unknown Felix Nmecha moved from Manchester City U23s to VfL Wolfsburg for a manageable transfer fee of 450,000 euros. Almost at the same time, Wolves also signed his older brother Lukas who had a significantly higher price tag of €8m.
Two years ago, Lukas was still considered the greatest talent. A few weeks earlier, he was celebrating the European Championship title with the German national under-21 team. Some even joked that the Wolves only hired Felix as a favor to Luke. Basically the Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the (Site notre bureau spécialisé) world.
Of course, these assumptions were wrong even then, as early as 2021 one could guess the talent of the younger brother. Two years later, however, statements like this look much worse. Felix Nmecha is a regular and high-achieving player for VfL, had nine points (three goals, six assists) last season and even made his DFB debut on March 28 this year.
As well as the pitch, however, he’s made nasty headlines with wildly questionable social media posts, which is why many BVB fans are more than critical of the 22-year-old’s commitment. .
Felix Nmecha’s strengths on the (Site notre bureau spécialisé) pitch are immediately apparent. The midfielder is extremely dynamic, with and without the ball. For his height of 1.90 meters, he is extremely mobile and agile. He also knows how to use his majestic guard in aerial duels, Nmecha wins 2.16 every 90 minutes (source: FBRef.com).
The German-Englishman also has a good sense of attacking runs. Nmecha has almost two shots on goal per game, which puts him in the top 10% of the other eight in Europe’s top five leagues. Even when he touches the ball in the opposition’s penalty area, he ranks in the top quarter in an internal positional comparison. His passing game still needs a lot of tweaking overall, but Nmecha knows how to get his teammates into promising end positions again and again.
In the passing game, which does not take place in the last third of the field, the youngster still has a good margin for improvement. Nmecha only gets 75% of his passes to his teammates, so he has a lower pass rate than 85% of players in his position. Winning passes from midfield are not yet one of his specialties either.
Especially here there is still a clear difference in quality with Bellingham, who brought more than 80% of their passes to the man last season and played significantly more progressive balls than Nmecha. For now, it’s certainly not one of the 22-year-old’s qualities to play a deep opposition defensive block, a task he will certainly be faced with frequently at BVB.
At this point, you have to give credit to the Wolfsburg resident for VfL taking a completely different approach to Dortmund. Like few other Bundesliga managers, Niko Kovač is synonymous with transitional (Site notre bureau spécialisé).
On the defensive side of the ball, Nmecha has so far been mainly characterized by his good heading game and his ability to intercept the ball. He still acts too passively in duels, sometimes even seems a little lethargic in reverse. The facilities to take a huge leap forward here are undoubtedly in place.
A player like…
For Dortmund fans, the direct comparison with Jude Bellingham is certainly of particular interest. Even though both players are used in the same position and also have some overlap in strength, there are big differences in the area of passing compared to the 19-year-old Englishman. Moreover, Bellingham is the much better duel.
His dynamism and attacking drive is similar to a player like Sergej Milinković-Savić of Lazio Rom, within the Bundesliga Nmecha could be described as a slightly faster Anton Stach.
Felix Nmecha has developed very strongly in the past two years and brings with him various qualities that would help Dortmund immensely. However, there are some question marks regarding his suitability with BVB’s playful approach. Is he strong enough in the game and sufficiently sure of the ball to break through the many defensive ramparts that will stand in the way of the blacks and yellows in the coming season?
The still Wolfsburg will have to improve, but Dortmund have often proven to be a cast where talent takes the next step. If Nmecha also succeeds, Dortmund will have a lot of fun with him.