The 26-year-old German international has been under contract with Borussia Dortmund since July 2017. Up to June 2022 (reference date for all stats), the midfielder has played 129 games (5 goals, 16 assists) for BVB across all competitions and helped Dortmund on their way to winning the DFB-Pokal in 2021.
Born in Amuda, a town on the Syrian-Turkish border, in 1996, Mo Dahoud arrived in Germany aged nine months. His parents were fleeing the Assad regime and found a new home in Germany. He grew up and went to school in Reusrath, a neighbourhood of Langenfeld in the district of Mettmann, spending his afternoons playing football on the streets with the other kids. There was a parking lot where we lived but nobody owned a car, so we always used to play football there. I was outside playing football every spare moment I had." His arms and knees are lined with scars. "Small souvenirs of my childhood, of the games played on asphalt and concrete. It was a cool time, always playing against the older lads, there were some really good players there too. Later, once I got a bit older, we'd meet in a parking lot every Sunday; there'd be 40 people there and we'd play a proper tournament."
Mahmoud Dahoud, whom everyone simply calls "Mo", started his youth career with Germania Reusrath, before joining Fortuna Düsseldorf in 2009. A year later, he started boarding at the Borussia Mönchengladbach academy with the goal of "one day turning professional". His dream would become reality; not immediately, but step by step. It wasn't always plain-sailing, but more of a case of two steps forward and one step back.
His Bundesliga debut on 11 April 2015 was followed by 27 more appearances in the Bundesliga, four in the Europa League and four in the Champions League for Gladbach The boy from Amuda had made it on to football's big stage. He also earned a spot in the German national team setup, representing his second homeland at every youth level from U18s to U21s, whom he played for at the European Championships in 2017. "It was always clear I'd play for Germany. And it means a lot to me, it's an honour." On 7 October 2020, he made his senior international debut against Turkey (two appearances in total).
"I feel a very close affinity with Germany. I grew up here, I know this country and no matter where I go on holiday or how beautiful it is, I always feel homesick after five or six days and want to go back." He has "unfortunately never got to know" his parents' homeland. "For me, the Arab world is a great unknown. I've only spent three days in Lebanon. Unfortunately, it's too dangerous in Syria. That's difficult for me. I'm dying to go visit my grandfather; I've only ever known him over the phone."
The way Dahoud – a Borussia Dortmund player since 2017 – runs with the ball at his feet and his unpredictable body movements make watching him a real treat at times. He scored his first goal in a BVB shirt on Matchday 1 of the 2018/19 campaign, a wonderful header at home to Leipzig. After the corona break in the 2019/20 season, he was a consistent figure in the starting XI until he sustained a knee injury in the game against Bayern Munich. He then started 15 Bundesliga matches in 2020/21, 11 of them in the last 13 games. He was also in the team for the 4-1 DFB-Pokal final victory against Leipzig, setting up the opener for Jadon Sancho. When it comes to stamina, only a few players can surpass him: Dahoud ran 12.6km per 90 minutes on average (BVB high) last season. In 2021/22, he clocked up 11.9 km per 90 minutes. He was a regular fixture under head coach Marco Rose, staying on the bench in just three league games and making in the starting line-up 20 times – more frequently than ever before. All of his five goal involvements in 2021/22 came in the second half of the season. As a number six/number eight whose trademark attributes are his creative flair and ingenuity, he boasts a unique skillset within the Dortmund squad.
"I've become much more stable, much more grown-up. I've learned to go to training every day with a positive attitude and then give everything I can. That is extremely important, because it's the only way you can improve," he said in an interview with the BORUSSIA member magazine in November 2020: "I only come home happy after a good training session because then I know I've given it my all."