Scoring more goals than Marco Reus, Timo Werner and even Luka Jovi? during an initial loan spell in the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund’s Paco Alcácer made a clear statement last season that Barcelona jumped the gun by not giving him a chance to impress in Catalonia.
He made 50 appearances at Barcelona but struggled to play more than 45 minutes during each run-out, spending most of his time as the club’s fourth-choice striker and ultimately leaving with his tail between his legs after not being given the opportunity to shine.
But with nine goals for club and country during the 2019/20 season, Alcácer has established himself as European football’s most in-form striker and he’s already got his sights set on facing Barcelona in Dortmund’s Champions League group stage opener.
Since moving to the Westfalenstadion last summer, Alcácer has scored 25 goals for Borussia Dortmund and another six for Spain, but it’s not just his individual stats in front of goal which have highlighted a flaw a Barcelona’s cut-throat approach to transfers.
The Spain international is one of the most highly regarded finishers at the highest level of the sport, with his positional play and ability to poach goals inside the area earmarking him as a talent ever since he broke through at Valencia.
But Alcácer isn’t a one-trick pony when it comes to finding ways to get the ball into the back of the net, scoring goals on his weaker left foot (six), in the air (four) and also from direct free-kicks (four), while he’s only scored one penalty since joining Dortmund on 28 August last year.
Alcácer has outscored both Luis Suárez (30) and Antoine Griezmann (27) during the same amount of time too, with many expecting that the best might be yet to come as the 26-year-old enters the prime stages of his career.
Although Alcácer certainly impressed last season, making his €21m price tag (as well as an initial €2m loan fee) look like a massive bargain, he struggled to reach peak fitness during the Hinrunde and at times was left on the bench in favour of Mario Götze.
It’s been a completely different story this season, however, as Alcácer has been one of just two Borussia Dortmund players who have played every single minute of football across all competitions so far, including in the DFL-Supercup.
Alcácer will certainly be looking to add to his four-goal tally this season when domestic action returns against Bayer Leverkusen, but he’ll also be keeping one eye on a reunion with Barcelona in the Champions League on September 17.
He’ll also have the chance to return to Catalonia in November after a doubleheader against Inter, boasting a record of two wins and one defeat as an opposition player at the Camp Nou.
Alcácer might not be able to make an impact against Barcelona until next week, but his performances over the last 13 months have already proved why the Spanish champions were wrong to offload him last year, something which has only been to Borussia Dortmund’s gain.