Nick Bidwell’s Notes From Germany: Paco Alcacer Lighting Up Bundesliga
Few top-flight players in Europe, have produced as many early season fireworks as Borussia Dortmund striker Paco Alcacer, the 25-year-old Spaniard whose unquenchable thirst for goals has sent the ‘Schwarz-Gelben into pace-setting Bundesliga orbit.
Currently on loan at the Westfalenstadion from Barcelona, Alcacer has the ultimate set of autumnal hot streak numbers: seven goals in his first four German league games, including a brilliant half-hour hat-trick in a dramatic 4-3 home win over Augsburg; another in the Champions League (versus Monaco) and three more in October for Spain (a brace in a friendly win against Wales, one in the home Nations League loss to England).
Quite a turnaround for a front-man who in two years with Barcelona (2016-18), barely caused a ripple on the Camp Nou pond and previous to his recent recall to the Spain squad, had not appeared for La Roja in two-and-a-half years.
Alcacer’s outstanding efforts for Dortmund are all the more astonishing given is his relative lack of game time there. Up until late October, he had started only one Bundesliga game, on the pitch for a shade over two hours. A goal every 18 minutes. Now that’s what you call finishing efficiency.
“I’m just really happy in Dortmund,” the ex-Valencia star told German tabloid Bild. “For me, Borussia was exactly the right move at the right time. Having such wonderful fans encouraging you is a lot of fun. The club, the squad and the fans have made me totally welcome. I’m trying to repay them with performances and goals. “
Needless to say, Dortmund have every intention of keeping the Spaniard beyond the end of the current campaign. The loan agreement contains a 25 million euro option to buy and according to Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau, the Ruhr club already have indicated their desire to trigger it.
At first glance, there is nothing phenomenal about Alcacer. He is not especially quick, tall or skilful. He does not offer a major aerial threat and certainly is no physical beast. But when push comes to shove, amply compensates with his cunning movement, two-footed shooting ability with little back-lift and plain and superior game intelligence. Dortmund coach Lucien Favre perfectly sums up the Iberian in three words: “Paco feels football.” A possible ad campaign tag-line ?
“Alcacer is tremendous right now because he is in one of those highly-successful spells which a player experiences all-too-rarely,” argues Spain boss Luis Enrique. “What we are seeing from him at the moment is a miracle.”
[collection name=”small” accordion=”mobile” excerpt=8]
What We Learned This Week
1. Siege mentality Bayern style.
Rendered tetchy by a poor run of form – three Bundesliga fixtures without a win prior to winning 3-1 at Wolfsburg on Saturday – Bayern Munich’s movers and shakers apparently have identified the culprits – the media.” We will no longer tolerate this derogatory and derisive reporting,” stormed chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge at an extraordinarily agitated press conference. “It seems clear that no one pays attention to values like dignity and decency. The boundaries in these matters appear to have disappeared. We will protect our coach, players and club. It’s outrageous, disrespectful and polemical.”
2. Herrlich on the hot-seat.
With Leverkusen only two points above the relegation places and a country mile from living up to pre-season expectations, the mood at the BayArena is black indeed. A large number of fans are calling for the head of coach Heiko Herrlich and in a remarkable admission of impotency, skipper Lars Bender now is predicting a “brutally hard campaign”. As for Herrlich, he was looking to pass the buck. ” We’ve players with us who are apathetic, who look as though they are not 100 per cent there. ” Beginning of the end for HH?
Don’t forget to follow World Soccer on Facebook and Twitter.