Archive for the ‘Dortmund’ Category

Player of the Season

Robert Lewandowski: Only Mario Gomez and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar bettered the Pole’s return of 22 Bundesliga goals this term, not bad for a man who started the season as second-choice striker for Borussia 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 sold to Chinese Super League outfit Guangzhou Evergrande.

Eurosport’s Ian Holyman said: “22 goals is a great return for a man who started the season as second-choice to Lucas Barrios. The Pole seized his opportunity wonderfully when Barrios returned injured from the Copa America, and I think gave Dortmund more as their lone striker than the Paraguayan did in 2010-11.”

Young Player of the Season

Marco Reus: He’ll be a teammate of Lewandowski next season, having agreed back in January to play in the black and yellow of Dortmund from next season, with a fee of around £17.5m reported to have been paid for his services. If he carries on from this season, that will be an absolute bargain. Only Gomez, Huntelaar and Lewandowski have more ‘points’ in terms of goals and assists combined, with Reus delivering 18 goals and 9 assists for Monchengladbach – a remarkable return for a 22-year-old, and one that played a huge part in The Foals securing a Champions League spot.

Ian Holyman said: “Sensational for Mönchengladbach…He’s a player who I think will receive wider acclaim at EURO 2012, where he isn’t likely to start, but will be explosive when he comes off the bench.”

Manager of the Season

Jurgen Klopp: While honourable mentions must go to Lucien Favre (‘Gladbach) and Christian Streich (Freiburg) et al, Klopp deserves this for leading Dortmund to back-to-back league titles for the first time since the mid-90s. His role in the success of the side, and the development of youngsters like Mario Gotze, cannot be underestimated, and his reputation is now such that his name is linked with almost every top managerial vacancy. However, you’d imagine he’ll be at Dortmund for the forseeable (and very bright) future.

“Managed to find the rights words to inspire his team to hold off Bayern, who invested heavily last summer, once again.” – Ian Holyman.

Team of the Season (4-2-3-1)

Ter-Stegen; Piszczek, Hummels, Dante, Lahm; Bargfrede, Kroos; Harnik, Kagawa, Reus; Lewandowski.

Do you agree? Should someone else have won? Shocked Huntelaar was left out of the team of the season? Leave a comment and let us know…

Advertisements

They’ve just won the league title for the second time in as many seasons; have a fantastic manager; a hungry, youthful squad; and the hottest property in world football on their books.

Taking that into consideration, along with their vastly improved financial state, impressive stadium and one of the best fanbases in Europe, and the future of Borussia Dortmund looks as bright as their kit.

Next season looks to be an even better one than the current for Die Borussen, with Marco Reus joining for a fee of around £17.5m for Monchengladbach. The 22-year-old is capable of playing in any one of the four attacking positions Dortmund’s formation uses, meaning he should slot straight into the side.

BVB Offside’s Clarissa Judmann said: “I think that getting Reus was a real statement of intent by Dortmund. It is also a sign that Dortmund is willing to keep improving and spend money…we are challenging Bayern.”

The core of the team should remain unchanged, with the likes of Nevan Subotic, Mats Hummels and Sven Bender not looking like going anywhere for a while yet.

The biggest boost, however, is that Mario Gotze has signed a contract running until 2015, which means he’ll almost certainly be playing at Westfalenstadion for next season at the very least.

On the flip side, though, are the reports that Shinji Kagawa may well be leaving the club. He has played a massive role in both title wins – especially in Gotze’s absence this term – and his departure would be a big blow, although not as big as it would be if Reus weren’t coming in.

Judmann said: “If we get a really good offer for him, I think he [Kagawa] might be sold. But, with Reus, Kuba [Jakub Blaszczykowski] and a fit Götze we have enough players for that positions anyway.”

All-in-all, they look very much like they’ll be challenging for the title once again this time next year. But what of Europe? After a failed campaign this year, they know they need to improve to truly become a force to be reckoned with.

Bayern Munich’s president, Uli Hoeness, said: “Dortmund will not be knighted by me until they have played a super season in the Bundesliga, and have played successful in international competition.”

That may be part sour grapes, and part mind-games (the two sides meet in the German cup final on May 12) but there is a truth to it.

However, if they can keep ahold of most of this squad, and make a couple of key signings, then Hoeness may be ‘knighting’ them sooner rather than later, and certainly sooner than he would like.

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.

Lars Bender…I think

Lars Bender was born April 27 1989. Minutes later, Sven Bender arrived on the scene. 22 years later, and they are regarded as two of the hottest prospects in Germany.

The pair started out at SpVgg Unterhaching, making their way through the ranks before together making the short move across the Bavarian capital to join 1860 Munich.

The careers continued dawn the same path at Die Lowen, and in the three full seasons each had with the first team, they both made between 60-70 appearances.

Lars, however, was considered to have slightly more talent than his slightly younger brother. This was mainly due to his greater attacking abilities, and recognised by his being given the captain’s armband (when the regular captain was subbed) at the age of 19 – the youngest player ever to captain 1860 Munich.

In the summer of 2009, the twins finally went their separate ways. Lars signed for Bayer Leverkusen, while Sven went to Borussia Dortmund. Both have experienced plenty of first team action, but it is Sven who has had more success – playing a key role in Dortmund’s Bundesliga title win.

Sven Bender…possibly.

They have both represented Germany at every level, from U17 to the full national side, and both played their part in the Uefa U19 Championship win in 2008. Sven was the first to appear for the national side – in a friendly against Australia in March 2011 – but it wasn’t long before Lars won his first cap, and it is the elder Bender who currently has more caps to his name.

Individually, they are two extremely talented young midfielders, and very good prospects. If a club, or their country, could reunite them in the centre of midfield, they could be the perfect pairing.

“The Bender twins are inevitably going to be compared to one another. They play similar roles, breaking up the play in front of the back four and creating. They both get around the pitch well with their rangy frames and always seem to have a dozen passing options at any point.” – John Dobson, journalist. @dobsonjp

Bayern Munich may have the best left-footed defender in Germany, but did they let the best overall slip through their fingers?

Mats Hummels progressed through the ranks at Bayern, a year or two ahead of Holger Badstuber, and played for their string between 2005 and 2007.

He flirted briefly with the Bayern first team, but ultimately found chances were few and far between. Highly thought of, he was sent on loan to Borussia Dortmund to gain experience.

Whilst undoubtedly talented, I don’t think anyone quite expected him to make such an impact as he did at Westfalenstadion.

Hummels and Subotic: works even when wet.

He was in the first team immediately, forming a formidable partnership in the centre of defence alongside Nevan Subotic. Together the pair became one of the best in the Bundesliga.

His move was made permanent in the winter transfer window of 2009, a year after his arrival. Bayern, they stated, were happy with his development, but were happier with the centre back’s they had: Lucio, Martin Demichelis, Daniel van Buyten and Breno. A decision they may now regret.

In the 2008/09 season, his first full season with the club, Dortmund had the second best defence in the league. But for Hummels and Die Schwarzgelben, the best was yet to come.

That best was last season, when Hummels helped Dortmund to a first league title in almost a decade. He may not have grabbed the headlines like Gotze, Sahin et al, but his contribution should not be underestimated.

He’s slowly but surely adding to his reputation and his caps at international level, and with Per Mertesacker’s form hardly inspiring, he should find himself firmly in the side come Euro 2012. His star his already rising fast, and Euro 2012 could be the tournament that catapults him to superstardom.

“He’s the most complete centre back in the world: his man-marking and passing abilities are absolutely world class. I’ve seen him mark some of football’s best strikers into anonymity for 90 minutes, but he still needs to improve: those times when he doesn’t succeed for 90 minutes it’s typically 89 minutes and 50 seconds, with the last 10 being just enough time for things to fall apart.” – Clark Whitney, goal.com German football editor. @Mr_Bundesliga.

“Mats Hummels, 23, for me, is the best young central defender in the world and one of the very best period.” Gerry Wittmann, of Bundesliga fanatic. @Bundesliga4u

The video below features Hummels displaying some of the passing skills mentioned above: