Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel has said teammates Christian Pulisic and Jadon Sancho have the potential to become two of the best wingers in world football.
Dortmund have started the season well under new coach Lucien Favre and head into Saturday’s game with Bayern Munich top of the Bundesliga.
Witsel, who joined Dortmund in the summer from Tianjin Quanjian, said that it is fun playing with such a talented group of young players.
“We have a lot of new players and the way we are playing right now, usually it takes more time. he said. “I cannot explain why we are doing really well and this is good for us, and we will of course do our best to keep going like this.
“The coach, the message he gives to us, everybody listens to him, and this is important. The way we play now on the pitch is because of the players but also the message the coach gives everyday in training.
“[Pulisic and Sancho are] young but really talented. If they keep going like this, they can be — I will not say the best winger — but they can become one of, because they’re really talented, but they need to keep working hard, and I hope we will keep them for a few years.”
The impact of Favre on the team should not be underestimated, Witsel said, and that his attention to detail is one of the reasons why they are top of the league.
“Even when we play really good, on the video when we do a meeting, he always speaks about the things we didn’t do good,” he said.
“You receive the ball from the right side, for example. He wants you to control with your left [foot], and give with your right so you don’t lose time. If you control with your right, you need to maybe take another touch and then play. It’s small details but in the end it’s really important.”
A win for Dortmund on Saturday would move them seven points clear of Bayern, and Witsel said that his side can beat the German champions the same way they beat Atletico Madrid 4-0 in October.
“Why not?” he said. “In football everything is possible, so why not?
“Against Bayern if you want to win then you have to be on your top level, and if everybody is ready — 100 percent physically, technically and playing the football we are doing now — we can beat them.”
Information from ESPN FC’s Raphael Honigstein was used in this report.