Why risk something when you can make sure you have a proven solution? That is probably what BVB head coach Thomas Tuchel thought when he lured the left back from Mainz to Dortmund at the end of August. Both know and respect each other from when they were together at FSV.
So new signing Joo-Ho Park was more or less a logical decision looking at the lack of cover in the squad after Borussia left back Erik Durm suffered an injury.
At the age of 28 years, Park is no longer a young talent. Instead he has been an established pro for quite some time – even though the South-Korean did not come to Europe until he was 24 years old. First of all he went to FC Basel and then the international went on to play for Mainz 05 where he proved his class and how versatile he can be. And in addition: he also proved both in Basel and in Mainz that he has a great character.
Tuchel said about his player: „back then when he came to Mainz we were all surprised how open and fun he was and how easily he integrated with everyone. Joo-Ho has a great character and is a total team player. But we also rate him has an exceptional football player.“ Park’s strength are resisting the opposition pressing and having the exact right feel when to press against the opposing team. He is always safe in the way he plays and passes the ball. That is why he can also be used further forward or in central midfield and not only as a left back. Tuchel said: „he is a great addition to our squad.“
Park’s resumé shows 44 Bundesliga games to date (one goal, three assists). His last game so far was on match-day 2 of the Bundesliga, when Mainz beat Mönchengladbach 2:1. What really stands out: the excellent passing completion rate of 92.1%. This is a rate that very much pleases Tuchel.
However he will still have to stand at the back of the queue in Dortmund for now. Marcel Schmelzer is the regular left back. He is one of the key players and has played a big role in the present BVB success story. However the 27 year old will also need a break, so this means that Tuchel now has a serious and reliable alternative solution available to him. And this is a player who knows exactly what the head coach expects.
The South Korean Park made it clear right from the start how serious he is taking this new challenge. Instead of flying out to the national team, he asked his national head coach Uli Stielicke whether he could stay back in Dortmund to train for a few days. Tuchel also admires this mentality of his player.