Borussia Dortmund retain Bundesliga crown

Posted: April 23, 2012 in Bundesliga, Dortmund, Germany
Tags: , , , , , ,

Borussia Dortmund’s reign continued as they succeeded in winning back-to-back Bundesliga’s for the first time in 16 years.

A 2-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach at Westfalenstadion was enough for Die Schwarzgelben to clinch the title with two games to spare, despite Bayern winning earlier in the day to keep their slim hopes alive.

The league win completes what has been a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the club, the culmination of the work done by Jurgen Klopp since his arrival.

Having won the Bundesliga in 2002, and becoming the first German club to be publicly traded on the stock market, Dortmund went into a decline in both football and financial terms.

There was some very poor management money-wise, which saw the selling of the stadium, the worth of shares in the club plummeting, players forced to take a pay cut and the club on the brink of bankruptcy.

There was also poor management on the field, perhaps caused by those events off it, with the side flirting with relegation in both 2007 and 2008.

Klopp: A kiss is the least he deserves.

Klopp took charge in 2008, and in his first two seasons they finished 6th and 5th respectively, a notable improvement, with thanks to some astute signings such as Kevin Grosskeutz, Sven Bender and Lucas Barrios.

In the summer of 2010, Klopp showed exactly how shrewd an operator he really is, with Robert Lewandowski, Lukas Piszczek and Shinji Kagawa all arriving – the latter for just £350,000. And, after handing him a debut the season before, he promoted a little known midfielder by the name of Mario Gotze to the first team.

The attack grabbed the headlines, as Gotze burst onto the scene to become one of the most talked about teenagers in world football, but it was arguably at the back the first title was won. They conceded just 22 goals in the Bundesliga, 17 less than the next best defence, Mainz 05.

Talk turned to how they could possibly retain the title, with most fancying Bayern Munich to recapture their crown. That looked all the more likely when Nuri Sahin left for Real Madrid, but the arrival of Ilkay Gundogen and the return from loan of Moritz Leitner made for more than suitable replacements.

Along with that, Lewandowski also replaced Barrios as the first choice striker, while Mario Gotze has spent large chunks of the season on the sideline. Despite this, the hunger, desire and style of play have not only remained, but improved. They’ve conceded 23 goals thus far, the second best in the league and an impressive feat in a league that has the highest goals-per-game ratio of the top league’s in Europe, while they’re also the joint top scorers.

They haven’t been beaten since September, with a league record of 25 games unbeaten. Lewandowski has been a revelation up front, scoring 20 league goals and seven assists, while Kagawa has 13 goals and six assists.

With a proven record of developing young talent – both from home and abroad, and the success of the past two seasons providing a platform to build upon, the future certainly looks bright, and they’ll very much be in the hunt for a third straight title next year – something not achieved since Bayern between 1999 and 2001.

Clarissa Judmann, of BVB Offside, described the factors of both the team’s resurgence, and this season’s league win. She said: “[Factors for Dortmund resurgence]: Getting the financial house in order, getting lucky on the transfer market – I don’t think that anyone would have predicted players like Kagawa and Piszczek to be such big successes – and we also made ourselves into one of the prime German addresses for young players. Jürgen Klopp is an excellent, excellent coach when it comes to working and motivating with a young team and he is one of the major factors of our success too. Overall, there is currently a coherent strategy being worked at Dortmund, which is a big draw for players.

“[The biggest factors this season have been]: The return to form of Shinji Kagawa after his injury, being able to substitute Sahin well with Bender, Kehl and Gündogan, keeping most of the team together, Lewandowski stepping up big time, and the early European exit probably helped.”

To read more about what the future holds for Dortmund, click here.

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Comments
  1. […] just won the league title for the second time in as many seasons; have a fantastic manager; a hungry, youthful squad; and the […]

  2. […] Dortmund. His goals, assists and link-up play as the lone striker have been an integral part of The Borussians title success. So much so, in fact, that Lucas Barrios, the man whose injury gave Lewandowski his chance, has been […]

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