Marcel Schmelzer – Full Back of the Year?

Posted on April 22, 2011

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2010-2011 will be a season to remember for Borussia Dortmund if they can win their first league championship in nine years.

And as much as it will be a time of celebration for Südtribüne, there will be an emotional farewell to a cult-hero of the Westfalenstadion. Brazilian full-back Dede has been at BvB since 1998 and was an integral part of the squad that won the Bundesliga in 2002.

However, Dede’s retirement has been cushioned by the excellent progress of 23-year-old left-back Marcel Schmelzer who has now established himself as Jurgen Klopp’s first-choice full-back.

Schmelzer has been at Borussia Dortmund since he was 17 and made his first-team debut in 2008 but it was last season where he really made his name at Signal Iduna Park, making 24 starts in the Bundesliga throughout the year.

His rapid development under Klopp has made him one of the stand-out performers in the Borussia Dortmund side, and perhaps, hidden in the shadows of Mario Gotze and Lucas Barrios.

The full-back, born in Magdeburg, has a wealth of attributes and has contributed to both Dortmund’s excellent attack and dominant defence. Schmelzer has complemented left-attacker Kevin Großkreutz extremely well and has used his pace and work-rate to over-lap and provide great width while Großkreutz prefers to drift in to central positions from the left.

On the other side, Lukas Piszczek is not as advanced with Gotze ahead and offers more defensive protection with Schmelzer bombing forward on the other flank. Despite not having great technique, Schmelzer makes up for that by being regularly in an attacking area to support the attack through sheer work-ethic and physical fitness.

Schmelzer has just the one international cap for Joachim Loew’s national side and he faces some stiff competition with Jerome Boateng and Dennis Aogo for the left-back position. Based on performances this season, Schmelzer should be stick-on to be Germany’s regular left-back in the upcoming friendly with Uruguay and qualifiers in June.

FC Bayern’s Philip Lahm has held the title as the best full-back in Germany for some time but Schmelzer has set the benchmark this season and has out-performed his counterpart in the Bundesliga this season and, deservedly so, will have a league winners medal to show for his performances.

Marcel Schmelzer recently signed a contract extension at Dortmund which will keep him at Signal Iduna Park until 2014.

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Posted in: Feature