Jimmy Durmaz is a player that split opinion in his maiden season in Piraeus. Many fans felt he was too inconsistent while others simply felt he wasn’t good enough. That isn’t the case this season as his and Kostas Fortounis’ goals have given the club a near perfect start in the Superleague.
Durmaz showed great signs in pre-season, himself and Felipe Pardo standing out in the friendly games during the club’s training camp in the Netherlands. It was these star performances that lefts fans shocked when Jimmy found himself omitted from Silva’s Champions League squad. Durmaz was away on international duty with his country, Sweden, when the announcement was made. It was a surprising exclusion, especially as Fenerbahce had reportedly had an offer refused for the player’s services during the transfer window. Reports in the Swedish media at the time spoke of a player that was shocked and disappointed. Jimmy Durmaz was understood to be seeking talks with Marco Silva when he returned to the club and a transfer to the oil-rich Middle East was even mooted.
No one knows if these showdown talks ever took place on his return to training with the club, but one thing is for sure, we are seeing an inspired Jimmy Durmaz. It is still very early in the season, but on early form Jimmy Durmaz is looking like a genuine contender of Dominguez’s MVP title from last term.
Jimmy Durmaz already has three Superleague goals to his name after five league games this season. The recent 5-1 thrashing of Giannina saw the Swede credited with another goal and assist for his efforts, which is fast becoming normal practice. It was, however, the previous Superleague fixture against fellow cup finalists, Xanthi, which provided arguably the best Jimmy Durmaz display in the famous red & white stripes. Thrylos recorded a 3-1 victory on the road that evening with Jimmy Durmaz playing a part in all three Olympiakos goals. Jimmy opened the scoring with a blistering strike from the edge of the area, after Fortounis’ cross had found the winger as he made his run at the Xanthi defence. Durmaz was then brought down in the area, winning the penalty that Kostas Fortounis was able to convert to re-establish a lead in the game after the hosts had previously drawn level. The final goal, to make the score 3-1 and make sure of the win, was a superb team goal. A Siovas cleared ball from defence found Fortounis in the middle of the park, the Greek international strode forward making 25 yards, losing his defender before his lofted pass found the feet of Durmaz on the left wing. Durmaz controlled the ball and advanced into the box, before fooling his defender with a silky step-over before knocking the ball out in to the path of Ideye, who was running outside to his left. Ideye took the ball and a defender with him to the byline, before cutting the ball back into the path of Fortounis, who had continued his run into the centre of the box after his initial pass. Fortounis easily slotted the ball in the back of the net, which is becoming an all-too-familiar sight this season, sealing the points of another good win in the league. Kostas Fortounis and Jimmy Durmaz, this season, are developing a very good understanding together behind the front man. This fledgling partnership has been key to our successful start to the campaign.
As a player that was in and out of the side for much of last season, nobody really knew too much of his temperament and as a result could not be sure how he’d react to being dropped from the European squad. Many could be forgiven for thinking Durmaz would return from international duty and allow his head to drop and not perform, should he be selected, or even more – demand a move away from the club. Nothing could be further from the truth, since the last international break Durmaz has been the ultimate professional and not let his obvious disappointment affect him. If anything it has spurred him on to do even better.
On current form Jimmy Durmaz is the best performing winger at the club – and league. He will undoubtedly be disappointed that he was unable to play a part in the club’s historic and heroic night in London, but will be almost certain to be back in the starting line-up to face PAOK in today’s big Superleague showdown. Should he find himself lining up as the battle with PAOK commences then it should be seen as good as an admission from Silva that he made a mistake when selecting his Champions League 25. It is understandable, though, with Seba, Pardo and Hernani being the new manager’s personal picks that he would show preferance and loyalty there. One thing can be for sure, however, should Olympiakos still be in Europe for the knockout stages of the Europa League or Champions League come February when Silva would need to re-submit a squad to UEFA, should Jimmy Durmaz maintain this sort of form, he not only would make it into Silva’s 25 but he would be one of the very first names on the squad list.
So, credit to Jimmy Durmaz. If this form is down to the player wanting a move away and putting himself in the shop window after his disappointment, or, if it is a player eager to prove his manager wrong and play his way into the managers selection, it doesn’t matter. The important thing, at the minute, is that Thrylos is benefitting from the services of one of the current best performers in the Superleague. Let’s hope that that long continues, competition for places is tough at the minute all over the pitch and that can only serve as a positive problem for Marco Silva. The competition seems to have given a new life to this early-season’s star man – Jimmy Durmaz.