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Emre Can

Since January 2020, the 29-year-old defensive player has been under contract with Borussia Dortmund. The German international played 121 matches across all competitions (12 goals / 8 assists) for BVB by June 2023 and won the DFB-Pokal in 2021.

He was already a German champion and cup winner, as well as an Italian champion and Champions League winner, though he didn't play in the 2013 final as a 19-year-old. With Liverpool, he participated in the finals of both European club competitions in 2016 and 2018. Emre Can knows how to win titles and reach major finals. In his second season with BVB, he won the DFB-Pokal in May 2021.

A duel monster with a strong will to win

Since January 31, 2020, the versatile defensive player has been part of Borussia Dortmund's professional squad. "A player who brings both technique and physicality with a pronounced will to win," said former sporting director Michael Zorc. The numbers are impressive! In his first half-season (2019/20), Can was the Bundesliga's strongest midfield tackler with a 61% success rate and improved to 62% in 2020/21.

Can’s role in the team

Whether for the club or the national team, Emre Can has made himself indispensable, providing his teams with stability and balance. “The number six position is the heart of the team. I love this role because I want to be there for the team,” says Can, who has everything: height, jumping ability, speed, composure on the ball, and a willingness to defend relentlessly. The 29-year-old plays (again) as he expects of himself and as is expected of him.

Emre Can’s childhood

Born on January 12, 1994, to Turkish parents in Frankfurt am Main, he played for Eintracht Frankfurt's youth team (2006-2009) before moving to Bayern Munich's U17 team. His first professional appearance was on August 12, 2012, in the Supercup win against Borussia Dortmund. His first Bundesliga match followed on April 13, 2013. In the 2012/13 season, when Bayern won the treble – league, cup, and Champions League – the young player appeared in both domestic competitions.

“It was a tough environment,” he said in an interview with Borussia's member magazine (April 2020 edition) about his early days in Frankfurt. “You learn to be strong, to respect others, to share, and to choose the right path – or the wrong one. Fortunately, I chose the right one. But I saw how other youths, including school friends, turned to drugs. I had my family and the right friends. As a footballer, I learned that you have to try and give everything to win. We played on a rubber pitch, and it was all about winning every day – not about where you came from. Sure, you can learn from losing, but winning is much better. I hate losing.”

Becoming an international professional through the national team

Since the U15 level, Emre Can has played for all of Germany's youth national teams, making his senior debut in an EM qualifier against Poland on September 4, 2015, in Frankfurt. He was a key player in Germany's 2017 Confederations Cup victory.

Emre Can’s journey before BVB

In 2013/14, Can joined Bayer Leverkusen and was signed by Liverpool a year later, where he played 167 games from 2014 to 2018. “In England, it’s about playing great football, tackling, and precise long balls, unlike in Italy, where tactics are the focus. I'm very grateful for the experiences I gained. I grew as a player and person. The years abroad were cool.”

In the 2018/19 season, he moved to Juventus in Serie A, playing a key role in their 2019 championship win but was only twice in the starting lineup after a coaching change for the 2019/20 season. In January 2020, he decided to join BVB: “I always had a soft spot for this club.” He would repeat his career path. “If someone had told me ten years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. I won’t regret any of these steps because I learned something everywhere.”

A versatile and adaptable player

At Dortmund, he has played as a centre-back, at full-back, in a single or double pivot, and as a number eight. In the 2022/23 season, he finally secured a fixed position as a single defensive midfielder after the winter break. “Versatility is both a blessing and a curse,” he told Borussia's member magazine (May 2023 edition). “We want someone who is frequently on the ball,” said head coach Edin Terzic about Can's new role. “Someone who is always available when a teammate is under pressure.” Reducing ball retention time and increasing touches – that’s what the coach demanded. “And Emre has done that very well,” Terzic acknowledged.

Emre Can’s performance in numbers

17 of his 20 starts in the 2022/23 season came after the winter break. His pass accuracy of 92% was the best in the team; his top speed of 35.1 km/h was only surpassed by two teammates. Additionally, he won a solid 57% of his duels.

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