Moukoko becomes Bundesliga's youngest ever player with Dortmund debut

By Sports Desk November 21, 2020

Youssoufa Moukoko has become the Bundesliga's youngest ever player after making his Borussia Dortmund debut against Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Moukoko, who turned 16 on Friday, made his long-awaited senior bow for Dortmund as a second-half substitute in Berlin with Dortmund 5-2 to the good - Golden Boy winner Erling Haaland boasting an incredible four-goal haul.

The youngster had long been considered an immense prospect in the Dortmund academy, having toppled numerous goalscoring records.

Among them was his impressive haul of 34 strikes from just 20 games in the Bundesliga's youth division last season, while he also became the UEFA Youth League's youngest scorer when still 14 in October 2019.

Previously, Bundesliga licensing rules made it tricky for players to feature in Germany's top tier before the age of 17, with 16 years and six months the absolute minimum age to gain eligibility.

But those regulations were changed in April, allowing for players to become eligible on their 16th birthday, and Moukoko is the first to take advantage.

At 16 years and one day, he has comfortably surpassed the record set by former BVB talent Nuri Sahin (16 years, 11 months and one day) – Yann Bisseck (16y, 11m and 28d) is the only other player to have featured in the Bundesliga before turning 17.

Moukoko is also likely to eventually set a new record as the league's youngest scorer as well, assuming he can make his mark in the next 13 months – the holder of that feat is Bayer Leverkusen prodigy Florian Wirtz (17y, 1m, 3d) following his maiden goal in June.

Club sporting director Michael Zorc expressed concern over the hype surrounding Moukoko in the media earlier this week, but following his historic debut on Saturday, there is little hope of that calming anytime soon.

Related items

  • Atletico Madrid 2-0 Huesca: Correa and Carrasco return Atleti to the summit Atletico Madrid 2-0 Huesca: Correa and Carrasco return Atleti to the summit

    Angel Correa and Yannick Carrasco were on target as Atletico Madrid returned to the top of LaLiga with a 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Huesca.

    Correa struck twice in a 5-0 thrashing of Eibar on Sunday and he opened the scoring at the Wanda Metropolitano on Thursday with a deflected strike.

    Carrasco eased the nerves with a second goal - his third in as many matches - 10 minutes from time to put Atleti three points clear of Real Madrid with six games to go.

    Diego Simeone's Atletico side ought to have won by a more emphatic margin a day after they confirmed their withdrawal from the collapsed European Super League.

    Yet Dimitrios Siovas should have given Huesca a shock third-minute lead when he shot straight at Jan Oblak from close range after Atleti failed to deal with a free-kick from the left.

    Alvaro Fernandez produced a sharp double save at the other end to deny Carrasco and Saul Niguez, and then Correa opened the scoring six minutes before the break.

    The in-form forward turned sharply after taking a pass from Marcos Llorente and beat Pablo Insua before finding the back of the net with a deflected left-footed strike.

    Atleti picked up where they left off following the interval, with Fernandez making himself big to keep out Koke's effort from close range.

    The busy Huesca goalkeeper was called into action again to palm Renan Lodi's drive away for a corner as Simeone's men continued to dominate.

    Sergio Gomez came agonisingly close to equalising when his free-kick flashed wide of the post before Fernandez beat away another effort from Niguez.

    Carrasco gave Atleti breathing space, tapping in after Llorente unselfishly squared the ball as Huesca appealed for offside. The goal was awarded following a VAR check.

    Dani Escriche should have pulled a goal back in the closing stages when he stabbed wide from point-blank range, as Huesca's survival hopes suffered a blow.

  • NFL Draft: Trevor Lawrence has all the tools to get the Jaguars up to speed NFL Draft: Trevor Lawrence has all the tools to get the Jaguars up to speed

    The NFL Draft offers a stage for sporting drama, yet there is seemingly no suspense surrounding the identity of the player whose name will be announced first by commissioner Roger Goodell.

    Trevor Lawrence was the presumptive number one pick long before he wrapped up his college career after a third and final season with Clemson. There was no need to return for a senior year – the time has come to head to the next level.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars are waiting to select what they hope will be their long-term answer at quarterback, someone who can help turn around the fortunes of a team who finished the 2020 campaign with a dismal 1-15 record.

    Whether they were 'Tanking for Trevor' or not, their reward for consistently losing is a shot at one of the most talked-about prospects at the position in the past decade. For a franchise with just one winning season in the previous 13 years, the presence of Lawrence offers a fresh start and immediately changes expectation levels.

    New head coach Urban Meyer has not even bothered to try to hide the fact either: Lawrence will become a Jaguar on April 29.

    This will be a new situation for him, though, having lost just twice with the Tigers. Those defeats came in the 2020 National Championship against an LSU offense led by Joe Burrow, last year's first overall selection by the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Sugar Bowl in January, when Justin Fields – another signal-caller expected to be selected early – led scoring drive after scoring drive for Ohio State.

    So, can a serial winner live up to the hype and help the Jags move forward? Stats Perform data helps provide a picture of what Jacksonville - and indeed the league as a whole - can expect.

    Law in order with Tigers

    Lawrence threw for 10,098 yards in his Clemson career. There were 90 touchdown passes and just 17 interceptions in an impressive three-year run, while the average yards per attempt improved - 8.26 to 9.00, then 9.44 – in each of his seasons in South Carolina.

    His completion rate also continued to rise the longer he played at the college level. After hovering just above 65 per cent during years one and two, he was successful on 69.2 per cent of his attempts in 2020.

    That number barely dropped when it came to throwing in the red zone (68.5 per cent), ranking him second for quarterbacks in the FBS across the period of 2018-2020, though he completed on 56.8 per cent of his attempts in third-down situations during that span - only good enough to sit 78th out of those to have at least 100 attempts.

    Still, on third downs with eight or more yards to go in 2020, Lawrence was on target with 27 of his 43 passes. Taking into consideration just third-and-long circumstances when needing 11 yards or more, he was good with 12 out of 19 throws.

    There will undoubtedly be a need to learn quickly on the job, but wide receiver Amari Rodgers - one of Lawrence's main targets when lining up together for the Tigers - has no doubts about his former team-mate delivering on his promise once in the NFL.

    "I think he knows what he's walking into," Rodgers, who had 77 catches for 1,020 yards and seven scores in 2020, told Stats Perform News ahead of the draft.

    "He knows that it might take a little time to change the program around, but just because he came from that winning culture at Clemson and even in high school, he barely lost any games in high school, he just has that winning mindset.

    "He's going to do whatever it takes to change that program around and make them a winning team. I have no doubt he's going to do that."

    The key, though, will be getting enough opportunities to make plays.

    Coping with the heat

    Pressure is coming in many different forms for Lawrence, who prepared for his impending football marriage with the Jaguars by tying the knot with his long-time girlfriend.

    The 21-year-old will have to cope with not just the expectations of a new team's fanbase but also the national spotlight. Going first overall comes with added pressure in itself, but with an opening round set to see a bevy of young quarterbacks selected in the early stages, there will inevitably be comparisons to his fellow rookies.

    Then there is also the added focus awaiting him from NFL defenses. Jacksonville gave up 44 sacks in the 2020 season, one more than Lawrence endured in his entire career at Clemson.

    However, teams will be aware of the risks that come with sending extra rushers at Lawrence, who completed 63.8 per cent of his pass attempts when blitzed. That number ranked him eighth in the FBS across his three-year stint, making the message clear to opponents: get home or be prepared to pay the consequences.

    While not widely regarded as a running quarterback, Lawrence is also mobile enough to make plays with his legs; he rushed for 18 touchdowns in 40 games for Clemson, including eight in his final campaign.

    If not able to make use of his arm to counter a blitz, the QB's footwork and speed off the mark is capable of seeing him sneak out of trouble and exploit the sudden spaces available.

    'The ultimate competitor'

    Lawrence's athleticism allows him to rush for yards when the situation requires, but it is undoubtedly his capabilities as a passer that makes him so appealing to the Jaguars.

    In a campaign where little went right after a Week 1 win over the Indianapolis Colts, James Robinson's emergence as a dual-threat running back provides Lawrence - who completed 64.6 per cent of passes in play-action situations – a potential safety blanket to hit when coming out of the backfield.

    Accuracy is a key trait, too, and the signal-caller has demonstrated how he can go deep when the option is open. On throws of 20 or more air yards, he completed 42.1 per cent. 

    "He's the ultimate competitor, every time he steps on the field he's trying to be the best out there," Rodgers said of his former QB.

    "He's trying to win every single day. Every single rep, he's trying to be perfect, and if it's not, if you miss a ball in practice, we're doing it like three or five times afterwards just so we can have it on mind, that muscle memory that it actually works.

    "He's one of those that prepares like a pro. Ever since he got on campus his freshman year, he prepared outstanding and it showed on the field. I have no doubts he's going to succeed at the next level."

    Lawrence has the talent, temperament and tenacity required to prosper. Now he just has to wait for the formalities of getting picked before joining a franchise desperately in need of a superstar.

  • Bundesliga announces quarantine camps to solve fixtures problem Bundesliga announces quarantine camps to solve fixtures problem

    Germany's Bundesliga teams will be forced to enter 'quarantine training camps' next month in a move designed to ensure the season ends before Euro 2020.

    The drastic step was announced by the German football league (DFL) on Thursday and will begin on May 3 with an initial soft quarantine as players, coaches and team officials are ordered to only leave their homes to visit club training facilities or to take part in a matchday.

    A harder quarantine will follow from May 12 as the same groups are ordered to stay in locked-down team camps away from their families when not involved in games, with that period ending after the final matches of the season take place on the weekend of May 22-23. It means teams must provide accommodation and living quarters for players and core team staff over that period.

    The new rules will apply to all 18 clubs in the Bundesliga and also those that make up the 2. Bundesliga, with the DFL declaring it had told clubs in March that this step was under consideration.

    Hertha Berlin players were ordered to isolate last week in a move that has seen three of their Bundesliga games postponed, while the second division of the league has also been hit by call-offs due to COVID-19 cases, complicating the task of finishing the season on time.

    Any further cases in the closing weeks of the campaign could cause fixture backlogs that may prove insurmountable before the Euros. Relegation play-offs follow the Bundesliga regular season, and Euro 2020 begins on June 11.

    The DFL said in a statement: "Two steps are planned: firstly, the group of persons included in the regular PCR testing programme, comprising the professional team, coaching team and team officials, must stay solely in their home environment or on the training premises/in the stadium ['quasi quarantine'] from Monday, 3 May.

    "This is intended to reduce contact and further minimise the infection risk and was successfully implemented in the final phase of last season after the resumption of match operations.

    "In the next step, from Wednesday, 12 May, the corresponding group of persons at all 36 clubs will enter a 'quarantine training camp', having undergone a PCR test with a negative result no more than 24 hours beforehand. The 'quarantine training camp' is compulsory until the end of the final match of the respective club on matchday 34 [22/23 May]. Consequently, the last two matchdays of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 according to the fixture list fall within this specific period.

    "The purpose of the 'quarantine training camps' is to provide extra safeguards for the staging of matches, particularly in view of the time pressure caused by UEFA EURO, which follows the regular season.

    "It is the clubs' responsibility to ensure that players, coaches and training staff come into contact with no one but each other during the stated period."

    Bayern Munich, who said they welcomed the quarantine plan, look set to wrap up the Bundesliga title before their players are forced to collectively isolate. Victory over Mainz on Saturday would guarantee a ninth successive championship for the Bavarians.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.