Borussia Monchengladbach snap up Timothee Kolodziejczak
After enjoying two successful seasons at Sevilla under the meticulous genius of Unai Emery, where he become an integral member of the Andalusian outfit, Timothee Kolodziejczak would’ve been hoping to continue his upward trajectory with new manager, Jorge Sampaoli.
But things hardly went to plan this term for the man who’d won a pair of Europa Leagues and featured 82 times in his first two seasons with Los Nervionenses, for Sampaoli deemed the French defender surplus to requirements. Instead, Sampaoli’s largely preferred the threesome of Nico Pareja, Gabriel Mercado and Adil Rami to fill the central defensive positions, meaning Kolodziejczak’s was restricted to a measly nine appearances in all competitions.
Clearly missing working under Emery’s stewardship, who was an outstanding mentor for him, he felt ostracized by Sampaoli. Kolodziejczak’s comments on Emery evidence aptly how strong their relationship was. “He (Emery) really instilled us with confidence in ourselves, he never gave up on us,” he noted.
“Myself, I had a difficult start and he was always there for me. It was a bit difficult for six months, but I came back to train the day after the matches, and he told me to be patient, that I had to keep working, that I was going to get there. He was always positive.”
Unsurprisingly, Kolo, now bereft of Emery’s support and frustrated at his predicament, spoke out of his desire for a change of scenery that would give him first-team football. “I played 50 games last season, today is different. After France and Spain, I think I’ll try out another country, another league,” he mused.
“I have some concrete offers to leave. I’ve had some great times with this club, I’ve discovered another culture, and honestly, it’s easy to adapt to this city and this club.”
Aware of the disgruntled player’s situation, Borussia Monchengladbach shrewdly pounced, signing the player for a reported €7.5 million in a deal that spans to 2021.
“He’s exactly the player we wanted to strengthen our defence,” said Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl. “He’s a left-footed centre-back, who can also play at left-back. He’s incredibly ambitious, has already shown what he’s capable of and is still young.”
Furthermore, being adept at playing within a central defensive back two or three only adds to what a bonus his versatility should be for the Foals. In terms of his skillset, there’s plenty to get excited about too, for he’s already a very well rounded player, but also one that has plenty of room to fine tune his game, given he’s still just 25.
In such a dynamic, physically exhaustive league like the Bundesliga, Kolodziejczak’s impressive athleticism should serve him extremely well. On top of standing 185cm tall, he’s extremely fast, possesses a fantastic leap, is super agile and can hold his own strength wise against most.
His blistering pace comes particularly in handy, though, for it allows him to cover his defensive colleagues if they lose their man, plus mop up any blown marking assignments from midfield. In addition, whenever he’s deployed at fullback, his strength in this regard sees him able to rapidly jet up the touchline and support attacks.
Kolo’s sound positional sense and reading of the game also plays a key role in his effectiveness, giving him a solid base from which to identify potentially dangerous attacks before they can develop. It’s therefore more common to see the elegant centre-halve chime in with vital interceptions, rather than desperate last ditch tackles, something that his new manager at Gladbach, Dieter Hecking, will no doubt enjoy observing.
To touch again on his offensive contribution, the fact he’s such a brilliant passer, who possesses an extensive range of passing, is another endearing factor of his game.
Whether operating at fullback or in central defense, the former Lens, Lyon and Nice prodigy shows a fantastic presence of mind to usually make the right decision on how and where to distribute the ball.
Whether by hitting aerial crosses or clever cutbacks from out wide or making line breaking passes through the middle, this aspect of his armoury should see him act as a competent member of Gladbach’s possession phases.
All in all, his multifaceted set of attributes means he’s comfortably able to deal with a vast array of different attackers – from tricky, nimble forwards to big, burly target men, and just about everything in between.
Moreover, acquiring the man with Polish roots who’s undecided whether he’ll represent France or Poland at international level, gives the Foals vital defensive depth, especially considering Alvaro Dominguez’s saddening premature retirement due to injury.
At 25, and entering his prime, both he and his new employer will be hoping for a long and fruitful relationship. Kolodziejczak’s unquestionably got all the ingredients to be a success in the Bundesliga, only time will tell if he, in fact, is.
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