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Can Ciro Immobile really replace Robert Lewandowski?

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As Ciro Immobile walked out onto the Westfalenstadion pitch minutes after completing the formal proceedings of putting pen to paper on a five-year deal at Borussia Dortmund the 24-year-old Italian started to look nervous.

He would have no doubt glanced over to the “Sϋdtribϋne” - the largest free standing grandstand in Europe, which every match day bounces amongst a sea of passionate black and yellow.

Winning Dortmund hearts

Indeed, the first thing which came to his mind beating any thoughts of getting out of the ground as quickly as possible to return to his Italian team-mates at their pre-World Cup training camp in Florence was how he would be able to have the crowd signing his name on a regular basis.

And perhaps more to the point, how he would be able to make sure that the Borussia Dortmund faithful would voice his name louder than they ever did with former hero and current villain, Robert Lewandowski, who joined bitter rivals Bayern Munich this summer.

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Perhaps this above all things is easier said than done with the formidable Polish striker, despite following former club midfielder, Mario Gotze down south and being billed as public enemy number one, he is still very much loved in and around the industrial city of Dortmund.

It is still a formality to walk into any sports themed bar in the Hansaplatz, an iconic square in the centre of Dortmund and to see a nostalgic selection of Lewandowski memorabilia, from the common signed shirts and boots to the weird and wonderful such as locks of his hair.

Lewandowski: Gone but not forgotten

In reality who can blame them? Every city has their sporting great and the 25 year old was arguably and very much is still a legend within the north German metropolis.

However, all great things come to an end and after guiding Dortmund to two Bundesliga titles, two DFB Pokal honours and a Champions League final sandwiched in-between a total of 76 goals in every competition for the formidable BVB he left for a big challenge.

And indeed that is exactly what Immobile has done, by leaving Serie A side Torino for the promised land of the Bundesliga after a disastrous start to his career at city rivals, Juventus.

The Italy international is one of three strikers brought in by Jurgen Klopp for the start of the new Bundesliga season, but amongst the likes of Dong-Won Ji and Adrian Ramos the most is expected by the plucky 24 year old with a constant grin on his face.

Of course, it goes without saying that the Campania born striker knows fully well what is expected from him, but a more serious question is whether he can have an instant impact on a club who are itching to get back in the limelight, both domestically and internationally.

A new hero

Having watched bitter rivals Bayern lift pretty much everything there is to win in world football, whilst also having to surrender the Bundesliga, three months from the start, it is clear to say that Dortmund want to mark their authority once more.

Every part of their team looks ready for a long and exhausting season which there chairman Hns-Joachim Watzke has billed as the campaign when Dortmund finally awake from their two years of slumber.

Six of Borussia Dortmund’s players including hard-nut and club lunatic Kevin Grosskreutz are brimming with confidence having won the World Cup with Germany, whilst poster-boy Marco Reus has returned to training following a foot injury picked up in an international friendly in June.

New era at Westfalenhallen

Every single department looks aged and well-oiled and you get the feeling that several of last season’s buys including midfielders Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrik Mkhitaryan are starting to click.

However, Dortmund’s collective strike-force are still, in their original plastic wrapping and neither of the three frontman are yet to play a single competitive minute together.

Although Ramos scored 16 goals for fellow Bundesliga side, Hertha Berlin last season, Ji managed to only find the back of the net for Augusburg once last season and you get the feeling that Klopp and the while of Dortmund are expecting everything to come from Immobile upfront.

The logical point is that the 24 year old is either going to sink or swim, and if Dortmund are going to go head to head with Bayern and take the Bundesliga title to the last game of the campaign, it is elementary to suggest that Immobile will have to score at least 15 goals plus next season.

Although it seems that a considerable amount of pressure is being heaped on the shoulders of a striker who flopped during Italy’s World Cup group-stage elimination, it important to suggest that the 24 year old has signed a five and not a one year deal.

Dortmund have a dream of kicking Bayern off their German crown as quickly as possible, but it goes without saying that they will need time, team-work and collective strength if they are able to achieve this.

They most of all need, Immobile to follow in the footsteps of the void left by Lewandowski and there is no reason why the 24 year old will not come up trumps and take everyone by surprise by grabbing 15 goals plus this season.

It goes without saying that if it isn't this season then it will be the following when the charismatic Italian enjoys all the thrills of La Dolche Vita, a saying which translates to the good life.

And who could want this more other than Immobile, he has the whole expectations of a city resting on his tiny shoulders, and if he were to achieve the impossible and awake this mighty club from its slumber then expect his name to hand in hand with the city of Dortmund.

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Topics:
Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund
Robert Lewandowski
Football

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