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Dembele's 'enormous speed' is difficult to defend against - Mittelstadt

11:14 IST 22/04/2019
Ousmane Dembele Barcelona 2018-19
The Hertha Berlin midfielder has come up against some big names in his 48 Bundesliga appearances, but none were harder to handle than Dembele

Hertha Berlin midfielder Maximilian Mittelstadt has hailed Ousmane Dembele as the most difficult opponent he has ever faced.

The 22-year-old came up against Dembele twice while the winger was at Borussia Dortmund before leaving for Barcelona in 2017 while he also faced him when the Germany and France Under 18 teams met in 2017.

Dembele scored 10 times and set up a further 21 in 50 matches for Dortmund to seal a big money move to Camp Nou, where he has recovered from a different start to net 18 times and lay on 15 assists in 61 appearances.

And Mittelstadt will not be surprised to see his former opponent excel alongside Lionel Messi and Co. as he was impressed when he came up against him.

In his 48 Bundesliga appearances, Mittelstadt says the 21-year-old Dembele has never had to deal with a less predictable player.

"Ousmane Dembele [was my toughest opponent]. I can remember games in which it was very difficult to defend against him, be it with the Under 18 national team or Borussia Dortmund," he told Goal and SPOX. 

"He is an unpredictable player with enormous speed, who is also two-legged and therefore hard to predict."

Mittelstadt also had special praise for Hertha team-mate Ondrej Duda, listing him as the best player he has played alongside.

Attacking midfielder Duda, 24, joined Hertha from Legia Warsaw in 2016 and has scored 10 times in 28 Bundesliga games this season.

"In pure footballing terms, I would say Ondrej Duda [is the best I've played with]," he added. "He plays at a level I have rarely seen before. But also Marko Grujic impresses me. He is very present in the center and overall an outstanding player."

Hertha are on a dismal run of six games without a win and recently announced that coach Pal Dardai will step down at the end of the season.

But Mittelstadt has enjoyed playing under the coach and feels grateful to the former midfielder.

"I learned from him that you should never give up and always give 100 per cent," he said. "I owe him that I could find my way here. Under him, I made my professional debut, I developed steadily. And I'm very grateful to him for that."