Newly crowned U21 European Champion
FCA’s new signing Niklas Dorsch is a real coup for the club. The midfielder impressed many at the recent U21 EUROs. Straight after winning the title, the first person he greeted was his grandmother. Let’s get to know more about our new number 30.
Moments after beating Portugal 1-0 to win the U21 EUROs in June, Niklas Dorsch was interviewed by a reporter. “I can’t understand a word,” shouted the midfielder, with the noise in the stadium too loud for him to hear the reporter’s questions. He still continued: “But that doesn’t matter. This is such an amazing feeling!”
There was one thing that the German wanted to say in front of the cameras though: “The first person I would like to greet is my grandmother, who will be sitting in front of the TV,” said Dorsch. “She sent me the nicest message I’ve received in ages yesterday. I love you, grandma! Thanks for everything!” His grandmother Rita had sent her grandson a video message before the final and promised him a Sauerbraten and pork knuckle should he win.
Dorsch’s interview after the final went viral around Germany, although the 23-year-old had already made a name for himself with his performances on the pitch. The midfielder was excellent in breaking up the play throughout the tournament and also helped to push Germany forward too. He was named Man of the Match in the final by German magazine Kicker.
Dorsch grew up near Kulmbach in Upper Franconia (in the north of Bavaria). As a 14-year-old, he joined FC Bayern from 1. FC Nürnberg. Upon joining the record champions, he moved into the centre of midfield instead of out wide – a position where his role model Toni Kroos was playing in for FCB at that time. Aged 17, he was awarded with a silver Fritz Walter Medal and then featured for Bayern’s reserves in the Regionalliga for the first time when he was 18. Two years later, he made his professional debut under Carlo Ancelotti. In his only Bundesliga game to date, he scored the opening goal in a 4-1 win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.
"I developed massively as a player and a person."
Due to Bayern’s star-studded squad, Dorsch struggled for game time and therefore moved to the second tier to sign for 1. FC Heidenheim in 2018. He became a key figure in the centre of their midfield, and almost returned to the top flight in 2020, losing out in the relegation play-off to Werder Bremen (0-0 A, 2-2 H).
After that disappointment, Dorsch still moved up the top tier, however not in Germany. He transferred to Belgian side KAA Gent, going on to experience a turbulent year. They changed their coach three times last season, although he did manage to feature regularly under all four managers. “I developed massively as a player and a person,” commented Dorsch. “My time in Belgium definitely made me stronger.”
Dorsch, who away from football is a big Basketball fan, has now returned to his home country. “I desperately wanted to play in the Bundesliga and FCA is the perfect place for me to come,” he explained. As a result, Dorsch is now a lot closer to where he comes from and will surely have more time to visit his grandmother for some of her special cooking.