Fans and pundits alike were surprised to read Tom Rothe’s name on the team sheet one hour before Dortmund’s 6-1 drubbing of VfL Wolfsburg.
BVB coach Marco Rose explained after the game that the 17-year-old got to make his professional debut as left wing-back after Thorgan Hazard picked up a back injury in final team training.
The Dortmund under-19 player repaid his coach for the trust by scoring the go-ahead-goal in front of the Yellow Wall in the 24′ minute. A glancing header off a Julian Brandt corner kick bested Koen Casteels.
“Tom did an excellent job,” Rose told his news conference after the game, adding: “We’ve had him on our radar for a long time. We had him with us in training camp. Because of our personnel situation, it was time to throw the kid in today. He settled into the game from the start and didn’t get rattled. With the goal, he then gained even more confidence. We saw the Tom that I know today, he played a very level-headed game for his age and for his first Bundesliga game. Incentive for more, I hope.”
Having the win prematurely secured thanks to a 6-1 scoreline, Rose also handed professional debuts to under-19 prospects 17-year-old Englishman Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and 18-year-old Lion Semic.
Rose expounded: “For a club like Dortmund and the fans here, it’s important to always be able to integrate young players into our first men’s team, who will instil us all with pride.”
(Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)