Dortmund looking for Alcacer's goals to put it in contention
BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund is looking for goals, and hoping Paco Alcacer provides them.
Despite an array of attack-minded players, Dortmund has struggled to score since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang departed last season for Arsenal. The Gabon striker scored 98 goals and set up 25 more in 144 league appearances. Replacement Michy Batshuayi managed seven in 10 games before his loan spell from Chelsea was ended by injury.
Alcacer joined on loan from Barcelona on Tuesday, with Dortmund securing an option to sign the Spanish striker to a four-year deal at the end of the season.
The two-footed player could make his league debut at Hannover on Friday, a day after his 25th birthday.
With the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Ousmane Dembele ahead of him, Alcacer found playing time at Barcelona restricted after joining from Valencia in 2016. He still scored 10 goals in 37 appearances for the Catalan side, almost all of them as a substitute.
"The forward who plays little and scores a lot," Spanish newspaper El Pais said in November 2017.
Alcacer did enough to get Dortmund's attention.
"Paco proved his qualities during his younger years at Valencia, scoring lots of goals, and acquired special status there at just 22 years of age when he was handed the captain's armband," Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc told the club's website.
"In Barcelona, he worked alongside some of the best players in the world on a daily basis. The fact that he's now taken the decision to make a fresh start after two years is attributable to the extremely tough competition for attacking places at the club."
Alcacer is known for his work ethic, his willingness to fight for the team and his instinct in front of goal.
"He's a goleador (sharp-shooter)," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said of the player, who was made Valencia captain in 2016.
Alcacer has had setbacks both on and off the field, most notably the loss of his father in August 2011. He died of a heart attack as he left Valencia's stadium with his wife. They had been there to see their son score in a friendly against Roma.
Alcacer joined Valencia's youth setup in 2005 from Torrent CF, his hometown club, and went on to make three league appearances for Valencia before spending a season on loan at Getafe in 2012-13. He returned to score 30 goals across three seasons.
Alcacer, who has been given the No. 9 jersey at Dortmund, will be an undisputed starter, supported by a cast that includes wingers Marco Reus, Marius Wolf and Maximilian Philipp, as well as midfielders Axel Witsel, Mario Goetze, Thomas Delaney and Christian Pulisic.
"We're firmly convinced this type of player will be a good fit for our style of play," Zorc said.
But Dortmund coach Lucien Favre is appealing for time - both for his team and for his new No. 9.
"He has to settle in," the new coach said.