Mo Dahoud has gone into his third season at BVB with a new shirt number and the wind from a strong display at the U21 EUROs in his sails. The midfielder, who acts as a link between the defence and attack in his number eight role, was even selected for the "Team of the Tournament". "Mo had a fantastic European Championship," said Sebastian Kehl, the head of the licensed player division, adding: "The fact he was included in the Team of the Tournament will definitely give him a boost and self-belief ahead of the new season." As a number six/number eight whose trademark attributes are his creative flair and ingenuity, he boasts a unique skillset within the Dortmund squad.
Born in Amuda, a town on the Turkish-Syrian border, in 1996, Mo Dahoud arrived in Germany at the age of just nine months. His parents were fleeing the Assad regime and found a new home in Germany. The family settled down in the Rhineland, where little "Mo" became a street footballer. "There was a parking lot where we lived but nobody owned a car, so we always used to play football there. I was outside playing football every spare moment I had," revealed Dahoud, adding: "I feel very close to Germany. I grew up here, I know this country and no matter where I go on holiday or how beautiful it is, I always feel homesick after five or six days and want to go back." Dahoud moved into the Gladbach boarding school, which became a home away from home for him, at the age of 14 with a view to turning professional. His dream would become reality; not immediately, but step by step. It wasn't always plain-sailing, but more of a case of two steps forward and one step back.
His Bundesliga debut on 11 April 2015 was followed by a further 35 appearances for Gladbach: 27 in the Bundesliga, four in the Europa League and four in the Champions League. The boy from Amuda had arrived on the biggest stage in football. He also made the breakthrough in the German national team setup, representing his second homeland at every youth level from U18s to U21s. "It was always clear I'd play for Germany. And it means a lot to me, it's an honour."
His runs with the ball at his feet and his unpredictable body movements make watching Dahoud a treat at times, but he is still lacking consistency, determination and toughness. He scored the first goal of the season for the Black & Yellows – and his first goal for the club personally – on Matchday 1 with a brilliant header at home to Leipzig. And when it comes to stamina, only a few players can surpass him: Dahoud ran 13.3km per 90 minutes on average in 2018/19.