Entertainment Malocher on the up: Meunier's reunion with home club Bruges
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On October 3, no less.
The first weeks in Dortmund were rather bumpy, but now Thomas Meunier has stabilized on the right side of BVB defense. On Wednesday, the Belgian is about to meet his home club Bruges in the Champions League.
Mats Hummels was already certain after the derby win against Schalke: "Thomas", said the BVB defense chief after the 3-0 win on October 24th, "Thomas is a super important guy for our team."
It was a very anti-cyclical statement, but the promised one was the Belgian summer newcomer Thomas Meunier - until then he hadn't played a particularly good role in Dortmund. On the contrary: Meunier struck headwinds because his flanks were weak, he missed scoring chances and did not always seem solid defensively. Two more clear games later (2-0 against Zenit, 2-0 in Bielefeld), however, it is easier to see what Hummels meant at the time.
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Because Meunier, who has been in the starting line-up in all ten BVB games of the season so far, has stabilized in his performance and received decent marks both against Schalke and in the most recent two appearances. The right-back, who recently acted at least nominally a bit more defensively as part of a back four, is still not a lightning-fast winger like his predecessor Achraf Hakimi. But the 29-year-old shouldn't be. Like a comparison between "apples and pears" is to compare Hakimi and Meunier, said sporting director Michael Zorc at the beginning of October the kicker and defended the newcomer vehemently against emerging criticism: "Thomas is good for our game both as a type and with his stability and Robustness."
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"Thomas is good for our game both as a type and with his stability and robustness." - Michael Zorc
Meunier was not taken on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, primarily to hit point-in-point crossings or to attract spectacular sprints. It is not a filigree dissecting knife, but a rough ax. Or, as they simply call him in his native Belgium: "La Machine" the machine. "Because he", as his former teammate Timmy Simons announced to the BVB club media in the summer, "goes straight through you."
champions and cup winners in Bruges and at PSG
These physical characteristics, which come together with a strong will to win, have brought Meunier not only to Dortmund, but also far overall. On Wednesday there will be a journey into the past in the Champions League. With BVB, the Belgian national player, who was born in Sainte-Ode, is challenged at his home club Bruges, where he grew up to be a first division player in 2011 and was retrained from a striker to a defender. Meunier became champion and cup winner in Bruges, just like later at PSG. He now has similar plans for Dortmund.
Until then, there is still a lot of work waiting for Meunier and BVB. Another victory is needed in the premier class to finally repair the slip in Rome. And in the Bundesliga, the top game against FC Bayern awaits the Borussia next weekend.
But Meunier, who used to earn his living as a factory worker and postman, has never shirked work. All the better that the shape is now right - and that yields a lot of Maloche.
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