Why Sheffield Wednesday star Julian Börner has flourished in English football

When Gavin Massey dragged a shot agonisingly wide in the first half of Wednesday's recent clash with Wigan Athletic, Julian Börner raised his arms in the air in celebration.

By Dom Howson
Thursday, 10th October 2019, 12:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th October 2019, 9:56 pm
Owls star Julian Börner has flourished in English football
Owls star Julian Börner has flourished in English football

The moment perfectly encapsulated Börner's passion and will to win.

Only heroics from Börner and Keiren Westwood prevented the Latics from taking the lead against the run of play early on in Saturday's Hillsborough duel.

Goalkeeper Westwood kept out Massey's initial effort before Börner cleared Jamal Lowe's strike away from near the goal line. Massey then neatly controlled the loose ball but fired wide with his second touch.

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Somehow the Owls survived that almighty scare and Börner celebrated the lucky reprieve as if he had scored a goal.

It was a big turning point as Wednesday went onto deservedly claim maximum points after Massimo Luongo's fine 57th minute strike.

Yet again Börner excelled alongside Dominic Iorfa at the heart of Wednesday's rearguard as Garry Monk's side recorded a fourth Championship clean sheet this season.

Börner, an ever-present in the league, has been a revelation since joining the Owls on a free transfer from German club Arminia Bielefeld. His bubbly personality and no-nonsense displays has quickly seen him become a fans' favourite.

"He has been really good," Iorfa told The Star. "His performances speak for themselves.

"The fans have taken to him well due to his performances.

"It is always difficult moving to a new club, let alone a new country, but I feel he has adapted very well to the Championship.

"He is physically strong and the Championship is a physically demanding league and he has dealt with it really well.

"He is good on the ball, composed and I enjoy playing with him. He is a good defender and talks a lot.

"We have a good relationship off the pitch. He is pretty quiet but he is a nice guy and everyone likes him.

"We get along and I feel like we have good relationship playing with each other. We have a good understanding and he has been really good."

In the absence of club captain Tom Lees, Börner has stepped up and led by example.

Iorfa said: "He captained his old team and you can see he has that leadership in him.

"His English is getting better every day. The fact that he has come in and is leading from the back is really good for him."

Midfielder Sam Hutchinson has also praised Börner's impact, saying: "He has done very well. Obviously, (Michael) Hector was a big player for us last season. But Börner has come in and I think he’s done fantastic. He’s a very good lad as well.

"He is happy. He loves playing football and I think he loves the culture around here. He’s got on really well with the boys and he’s flourishing."

Describing Börner as a "proper defender", Hutchinson added: "He is very old school but he’s actually cultured. He’s very good on the ball as well. It’s the way they play in Germany."