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For The Culture: Jakub Błaszczykowski


(Getty Images)



Picture the date, Fall 2011, coming off of a Bundesliga winning season, the Borussia Dortmund squad was arriving from the Summer and gearing up for a new campaign. The squad is announced and three particularly interesting players of Polish descent catch your eye, right-back Lukasz Piszczek, the future best striker in the world Robert Lewandowski, and last but certainly not least right midfielder, and club legend, Jakub Błaszczykowski.


The Polish winger started his footballing career in Poland and started to make waves once he joined Wisła Kraków in 2005 where he had already made a name for himself and played for both U-19 and U-21 for the Polish National Team. In his first year for Wisła he played 20 matches with only 5 assists in all competitions, in his second year, he improved with 11 goal contributions in 31 matches, establishing himself as a threatening winger. In that final season with Wisła, he would be named Ekstraklasa Midfielder of the Year and have a place in the Ekstraklasa Best XI.


(Wisła Kraków)


The season after, in the summer of 2007, Borussia Dortmund came knocking and for a fee of $3.36 million his signature was signed. Kuba didn’t get off on a hot start at Dortmund, his first season was the worst Dortmund season in 20 years, finishing in 13th place. Kuba played 27 games and only had 6 goal contributions in all competitions. The 2 seasons afterwards were semi-successful, finishing in higher positions and Kuba played 65 matches and had 15 goal contributions to show for it winning Borussia Dortmund player of the year in 2008. Not only dominant on the club level but he was also named twice Polish Footballer of the year in 2008 as well as 2010, debuting as captain in 2010.


2010 was a big year for Dortmund and Kuba, in the summer Dortmund brought Polish international teammates Lewandowski and Piszczek as well as Jurgen Klopp already getting his stride in the Bundesliga by that point. Kuba, mainly playing on the right would be defensively assisting Piszczek and would be supporting another fellow attacker in Lewandowski, the link-up play would be glorious.


(Oknonet.pl)


In that 2010/2011 season Dortmund would go on to win the league, back to their dominant form that once was, they failed to get out of the group stage but would make a threatening statement to European football by the end of the campaign. Kuba was an integral part of this plan, already had 3 years under his belt in the Bundesliga, he played 37 games and although only 8 contributions, was an important player for supporting play and counter-attacking brilliance in assisting forwards Lucas Barrios, Mario Gotze, Lewandowski and Kevin Großkreutz.


Dortmund had made their presence known, even threatening Bayern to a large degree, this upcoming 2011/12 season, would begin to showcase Kuba’s brilliance. Still not getting past the group stage, Dortmund solely focused on dominating the domestic competitions. This season was unbelievable for Kuba, his pace, finishing, creation of open play and even ability to track back made him a lethal player for Dortmund. He had 19 goal contributions in 40 competitive matches. By the end of the year, Kuba had won the double with Dortmund, dominating the Bundesliga once again and now winning the DfB Pokal too. His performances were eventually rewarded as Kuba was named on the 32 man shortlist for the UEFA Best Player Award in July 2012.



In the 2012/2013 campaign, we would, unfortunately, see the last of Kuba’s peak form. Coming off of a double, having a star-studded squad eleven with Marco Reus, Nuri Sahin, Ivan Persisic, Ilkay Gundogan, Mats Hummels and the Polish trio they were aiming for Champions League glory. Unfortunately for Kuba and his Black and Yellow squad, the only trophy they would receive that year would be from the DFL-Supercup. This was Kuba’s best year to be fair, and Dortmund did make it to the Champions League Final (makes it worse when you figure out it was to Bayern). Kuba continued to show off his excellent form by finishing the season with his best statistics yet, 14 goals and 15 assists in 41 matches through all competitions, having achieved individual brilliance but no hardware he would’ve wanted to get.


Many remember Kuba for his crazy FIFA Ultimate Team cards, where his pace, skills, and links to Piszsek made him a desirable purchase through FIFA 12,13 and 14 more notably. After 2013, Kuba’s age and awful injury history would catch up with him. Only playing for Dortmund for 2 more years and not performing at the peak he once had, he went on loan to Fiorentina and then transferred to VfL Wolfsburg until 2019 where he made the decision to go back to his boyhood club Wisła Kraków.


(Gol24)


Nowadays Kuba still plays for Wisła Kraków at the age of 35 and he currently is playing on no salary and is a part-owner of the club, trying to help them from financial difficulties, a true leader on and off the pitch. For his skillful ability, super quick feet, and unbelievably threatening counter-attacking play, Kuba is cemented in the footballing world for being an underrated player between 2008-2013, a total baller when he needed to be an inspiration to multiple degrees, when the footballing world looks back they will always understand Błaszczykowski as one For The Culture.


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