DAVID SMITH - Sunday, August 10, 2014
Just over a month since his move from Hoffenheim to Borussia Dortmund's U23 team, Joseph-Claude Gyau is enjoying the adjustment to the team's tactical approach.
The Florida-born Gyau had spent most of his professional career progressing through the ranks at previous club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, but made a switch to the second team of Dortmund at the opening of this summer's transfer window.
The move came somewhat unexpectedly as he looked to be approaching a regular spot on Hoffenheim's first-team bench in Bundesliga games towards the end of last season. However he explained that a number of factors made it abundantly clear that joining the Dortmund organization, even if initially with their reserve side, was the right decision.
"The coach [David Wagner] here at Dortmund had been looking at me for a long time because he also used to be a coach at Hoffenheim," Gyau explained to YA, "so I knew him and had been in contact with him for a little while."
"There were lots of other small things that were going on at Hoffenheim that I didn't really like," he continued, "and it was just my decision to come here."
"I thought it was a pretty good one with just being at such a great club, not only just being in the Champions League but also the whole atmosphere."
Gyau spent the latter part of his pre-season preparations training with Dortmund's first-team squad at their training camp, even participating in friendly games on a handful of occasions.
While this gave little time to make any last-minute fine-tune adjustments with his primary squad in the last days leading up to the start of their 3. Liga campaign, he feels this wasn't really a problem due to two main factors.
"The first two weeks [at Dortmund] I was with these guys, since we started training two weeks earlier [than the first team]," he explained. "I already knew them very well so it wasn't anything new."
He also credits an overall consistency in tactical philosophy throughout the entire Dortmund organization as a key factor that allows for a relatively seamless transition between the first and second teams.
"That's our main thing as a team," he posits regarding the high-energy, high-pressure style for which Dortmund has become famous during their highly successful period as a club in recent years.
Specifically in regards to the reserve team's implementation of the approach compared to what was also an attack-minded philosophy with Hoffenheim's second team, he appreciates both the higher level of play and the strict consistency with the first team.
"The high pressing style is a lot different here," he asserts, drawing the comparison. "The intensity is higher because the league is higher."
"I think also the quality of players might be a little bit better as well," he continues, "the training staff, everything is more cohesive."
Through four games, Dortmund II has seven points and sits near the top of the 3. Liga standings. Gyau has started all four games, and has scored a pair of goals.