This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Rewind’ series, this content strand is where we rewind back to a particular moment at a club, assess the initial reaction from the fans, and then proceed to evaluate and reflect on whether fans were right to react in that way….
With 2018/19 Player of the Year Michael Hector having returned to his parent club Chelsea in the summer there will likely have been understandable concern about the void left next to Tom Lees in the Sheffield Wednesday backline.
The arrival of Julian Borner, a relatively unknown German centre-back who had just left Bundesliga 2 side Arminia Bielefeld, will likely have seemed a significant step backward to Wednesday fans at the time.
The 28-year-old had been a great servant for Bielefeld, making 149 appearances across five seasons, taking the captain’s armband and helping them to get promoted into the second tier of German football.
But strong performances for a second division German side is hardly a guarantee of Championship success and with rumours flying about Steve Bruce’s future, you could understand why some Owls fans were underwhelmed by his arrival.
Never heard of him, hope it’s a good signing though!
— Colin Barrick (@colin_barrick) July 10, 2019
Dunno about this
— Louis Asher (@LouisAsher1) July 10, 2019
Never heard of him
— Liam 5️⃣🌟 Roe (@Roemeister86) July 10, 2019
— xDis (@XDisrrpt) July 10, 2019
— Nathan Booth 🦉 (@boothie_swfc) July 10, 2019
Looks like a physio
— Ryan Chadburn (@Ryan_Chadburn) July 10, 2019
Thank u next x
— Will Lowley (@LowleyW) July 10, 2019
Borner has been nothing short of sensational for Wednesday this season. The centre-back has been ever-present in the Owls defence in the Championship and looked solid throughout, forming strong partnerships with both Tom Lees and Dominic Iorfa.
The German has made the second-most interceptions, the second-most blocks, and the most clearances, as well as winning the second-most aerials of any Wednesday player, according to Whoscored.
He has helped Wednesday to climb to eighth in the Championship, just one point off the play-off places, and will surely have helped fans forget about Hector.
Many Wednesday fans may not have known who Borner was when he signed but through his performances, he has showed them he is a solid defender at this level and has surely exceeded their expectations.