Centre-back Michael Sollbauer made 54 Championship appearances during the 18 months he spent with Barnsley, after arriving from Wolfsberger AC to link up with former boss Gerhard Struber.
For a man who spent a decade at the Austrian side before becoming a key part of the Tykes’ first-team squad, it was perhaps a surprise to see the 31-year-old depart Oakwell this summer.
He made 37 league appearances during the 2020/21 campaign as Valerien Ismael led Barnsley to a remarkable fifth-place finish, although the defender’s role in keeping the South Yorkshire side afloat during the previous season was arguably just as important and he will be fondly remembered for his contribution to the cause, despite his reasonably short stay in England.
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The central defender joined German second division side Dynamo Dresden in July, arriving in Saxony on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee and has already become a key part of his new side.
In the 2021/22 season thus far, he has started in each one of Dresden’s five league games and appeared in their 2-1 victory over SC Paderborn in the DFB-Pokal cup competition – and is set to continue being a key figure at the back for the Bundesliga 2 side.
Alexander Schmidt’s side were promoted from the third division last term and on paper, may have been one of the potential strugglers to outsiders this season. But they recruited well in the summer and after going unbeaten in four of their five opening league games during 2021/22, they currently sit handsomely in third place.
Sollbauer is just one of those successful recruits and though their loss in the last match against SC Paderborn, with their opponents getting revenge for their cup exit earlier in August, may have taken the gloss off a wonderful start to their campaign, they are still in a good position going into their next set of games after the international break.
They may even be pushing for a spot in the top flight if they can maintain their current form – and you certainly wouldn’t rule out the 31-year-old making a similar impact in Germany to the one he did last season as Barnsley forced their way into the top six.
In his playing career, he’s already established himself as a fan favourite at both Wolfsberger AC and Barnsley and the possibility of gaining legendary status at Dynamo Dresden is not an impossibility judging by their current run of form.
This makes Sollbauer one man Tykes fans should be looking out for in the next season or two.