Read the entire article »
Belgium should make it possible at the European Championships this summer without Axel Witsel. Borussia Dortmund's midfielder suffered a torn Achilles tendon on Saturday and is on the sidelines for months according to the club.
The 31-year old Witsel was injured in the 3-1 win with RB Leipzig, without an opponent nearby. He left the field trailing.
The 110-fold international has been a fixture with the Red Devils for years. He made his debut in 2008 in a practice game against Morocco and was a basic player in the 2014 World Cup, the 2016 European Championships and the 2018 World Cup.
At that last tournament in Russia, the Belgians finished third.
Witsel started his career at Standard Liège and after wandering around Benfica, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Chinese Tianjin Tianhai, he settled in Dortmund in 2018.
The current number four of the Bundesliga will have to miss Witsel in the league and the Champions League. In the eighth finals Dortmund will compete against Sevilla.
NOS reporter Bert Maalderink made the series 'Bert among the Belgians' for the 2018 World Cup, with Witsel as one of the eye-catchers. Maalderink was initially received with the necessary reserve, but when the Red Devils rehearsed against the Dutch a few months later, the scepticism was gone.