He scored the Black & Yellows' very first goal of the 2019/20 campaign and, eleven months later, he came on as the last substitute of a season that turned out to be anything but ordinary. Indeed, it proved particularly special for Tobias Raschl: the 20-year-old made his Bundesliga debut on the last matchday of the season - and went down in history as the 383rd Borussia Dortmund player to make an appearance in the German top flight.
Raschl was born in Düsseldorf in February 2000 and joined the Borussia Mönchengladbach youth academy from his childhood club SG Unterrath in the summer of 2011. He then transferred to Fortuna Düsseldorf in 2013, before a move to Borussia Dortmund followed two years later. He then joined BVB at U16 level. A highlight of his time at BVB was captaining the U19s to the German Championship title. In the final, a 5-3 victory over VfB Stuttgart, the Black & Yellows initially found themselves 3-1 down – and it was in large part thanks to Raschl's contribution that they came from behind to win.
In January 2019, the student in his last year at the Geschwister-Scholl-Gesamtschule in Dortmund-Brackel was given his first proper taste of professional life when coach Lucien Favre included him in the squad for the winter training camp in Marbella. Six months later, he was promoted to the first-team squad. On 12 July 2019, he opened the scoring in the club’s first warm-up game in advance of the new season. So began a year of learning for the 19-year-old, who topped it off with a substitute appearance in the Bundesliga finale against TSG Hoffenheim on 27 June 2020.
Before the season came to a premature end due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Raschl made 15 appearances for the U23s in the Regionalliga, contributing two assists. Raschl was also able to continue demonstrating his talents for the U19s, captaining the side in the UEFA Youth League as one of the over-aged players eligible to play in the competition. Raschl had a large part to play in the Black & Yellows finishing the group stage ahead of Barcelona. In their back-to-back 2-1 wins over football's most famous talent factory - La Masia - the captain was involved in three goals, scoring two and assisting another.
Raschl was first included in a Bundesliga matchday squad on 26 October 2019. And not just for any old game - the biggest of them all, away to Schalke. Just rewards from head coach Favre for Raschl's impressive work in training. ''It was in the middle of the first round of fixtures. That's when it really started for me,'' says Raschl as he looks back: ''Being there for the first time, getting a sense of how everything works - it was a cool feeling. Being part of a Bundesliga matchday and not just training - it was an important step for me.''
After the restart of the league in May 2020, Raschl was included in the squad for every matchday except the game against Bayern Munich. ''There were several times when I expected to come on. When it didn't come to pass, I'd be pretty annoyed the evening after the game. But I always kept it to myself and did all I could to convert my disappointment into strength and focus,'' says the youngster. Then, on the very last day of the season, his efforts were finally rewarded with an appearance. In the 65th minute of the Bundesliga meeting with TSG Hoffenheim, Favre sent Raschl onto the field of play. ''We'd rather have sent him on with us 4-0 up as opposed to 4-0 down,'' says assistant coach Edin Terzic, adding: ''It was a very special day for him, despite the disappointing final score. A debut appearance in the Bundesliga was richly deserved after all the hard work he put in over the past year or so. Tobi always gives his utmost and he more than merited those 25 minutes on the pitch.''
Raschl can look back on ''a very educational'' first year of senior football: ''I was able to learn so much. All in all, I was hoping for more action and more playing time, but you should never feel completely satisfied with anything.''