As Mahmoud Dahoud received Erling Braut Haaland’s pass amid a characteristically swift piece of build-up play from Borussia Dortmund, the German checked to see a perhaps unfamiliar face galavanting down the right flank.
For two seasons at BVB it was Achraf Hakimi executing these sorts of penetrating runs, but on this occasion, it was Thomas Meunier.
Signed as Hakimi’s replacement following the expiration of the Moroccan’s two-year loan spell at Signal Iduna Park in the summer, Meunier, after receiving Dahoud’s pass, had a golden chance to draw his side level against Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup.
The Belgian’s effort, though, as Manuel Neuer rushed to close him down, was woeful – blazing his shot hopelessly over the bar. Haaland would soon bring Lucien Favre’s side level, but BVB’s horrid inferiority complex in regards to facing Bayern reared it’s ugly head once more, as Joshua Kimmich’s improvised finish handed Die Roten a 3-2 victory.
Nevertheless, Meunier’s 47th-minute sequence was one which epitomised his early woes at his new club. It was a chance that Hakimi would’ve gobbled up without hesitation, no doubt.
But unfortunately for Favre, the financial strains brought upon the footballing world by COVID-19 meant securing a permanent deal for the Moroccan was incredibly tricky. Instead, it’s Inter – who splurged a tame £36m to prize him away from Real Madrid – who are poised to be the beneficiaries of the 21-year-old’s frightening talent. Continue reading