Posts Tagged ‘Borussia Dortmund’

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.

If he were to go, who would replace Joachim Löw?

Following this list of managers from within the national team setup who could replace Joachim Low, either now or in the future, the is also a very distinct possiblilty the replacement will come from a coach at club level.

Allan Edgar, of Bundesliga Football, said: “There is a wealth of talent in Germany at the moment with regards to coaching. Although there’s no shortage of potential targets – Klopp in particular has shown his clear ability again this year whilst Tuchel, Slomka and Favre all deserve mentions – there is no inclination yet as to who will be offered the position given the length of time Löw is expected to remain at the helm.”

Here’s a look at five club managers who could be in the frame…

Jurgen Klopp

At 44, he is young in terms of age – only two years older than Freund – but already has over a decade in management to his name. Played over 300 games for Mainz 05 between 1990 and 2001, before taking over as manager after hanging up his boots. Under him they qualified for the 2005/06 Uefa Cup, but were also relegated in 2007. Kept his job after relegation, but left after they failed to gain promotion. He became manager of Dortmund in 2008, and has set about transforming the side – culminating with last season’s Bundesliga win, a feat they look set to repeat this season. If Germany were to replace Low from outside the national setup, he’d surely be the favourite.

Heiko Vogel

Worked for almost ten years at various levels within Bayern Munich’s youth system, after studying to become a sports teacher/coach. He was assistant to Thorsten Fink at Ingolstadt 04, and followed him to FC Basel in 2009. Got the top job at the Swiss club when Fink left for Hamburg SV. Has taken Basel to the last-16 of the Champions League, and overseen famous victories over Manchester United and Bayern Munich. At 36, he’d represent a big risk, but is a talented manager with a big future in the game.

Thorsten Fink

Won four Bundesliga titles and the Champions League as a player with Bayern Munich, and has since set about working his way up the managerial ladder. Started out with Red Bull Salzburg, before moving on to Ingolstadt and then making his name at Basel, where – with Vogel alongside him – he won back-to-back Swiss Super League titles. Currently in charge of HSV, they sit a somewhat disappointing 14th, but there’s no denying he’s one of the best up-and-coming young managers in German club football.

Thomas Tuchel

After his playing career in the lower-leagues was cut short by injury, he began working with the U19 side of Stuttgart, and then performing a similar role with the youth teams of FC Augsburg. Was appointed Head Coach of Mainz 05 in 2009, and has since done remarkably well, including a 5th place finish last year. At only 38 and two years in the Bundesliga, he has an extremely bright future, which may well include the national job at some point down the line – but it’s unlikely to be anytime in the near future.

Ralf Rangnick

A long and extensive career in management has saw Rangnick have spells in charge of Stuttgart, Hannover, Hoffenheim and two with Schalke – to name a few in a career that has so far lasted over 20 years – including some player/manager roles in the lower-leagues early on, although he did not enjoy a particularly successful playing career. He guided Schalke to the semi finals of the Champions League with a two-legged win over Inter Milan, but stepped down in September due to health reasons. He actually missed out on the role of Germany’s assistant to Joachim Low back in 2004, but could now be the man who replaces him. Given he cited exhaustion as the reason for leaving Schalke, international management could be perfect for him – but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be considered perfect for it.

In the last ten seasons, three different clubs have won the Premier League; five have won the Bundesliga.

Eight teams have finished inside the top four in the Premier League; ten in the Bundesliga.

It may not seem like much, but it does perhaps make all the difference. While the Premier League is not as much of a two-horse race as La Liga or the SPL, it isn’t exactly wide open either.

The Manchester United/Arsenal rivalry became Man Utd/Chelsea, and now it’s Man Utd/Man City. Tottenham have briefly challenged but fallen away. The challenges from Spurs and Man City represent a shift in power, but also highlight the decline of sides like Liverpool and Arsenal.

One of the reasons the Bundesliga is a more open competition is that clubs are made it live within their means. It receives far less in both matchday and TV revenue, with a licencing agreement meaning all clubs are on more of a level playing field. The Bundesliga receives just under €600m in television income; the Premier League: almost €2bn.

Around 50% of Bundesliga clubs’ revenue is spent on players wages, amongst the lowest in Europe (certainly the lowest of the big five leagues) and well below the 70% outlined by Uefa’s Financial Fair Play.

Raphael Honigstein, German football correspondent for The Guardian, said: “The licensing system levels the playing field somewhat as it forces clubs to live within their means. This does not make everyone the same but increases the chances of bigger teams slipping up as they can’t simply throw money at it in January, for example.”

The counter argument, of course, is that the Bundesliga has less quality. Bayern Munich were the last German side to win the Champions League, and that was back in 2001. Manchester United and Liverpool have both won the competition since then, while Manchester United have reached the final a further two times, Liverpool made another appearance in the final, and Arsenal reached it in 2006.

Clark Whitney, goal.com’s German football editor, expanded on this, saying: “As much as I hate to admit it, quality does play a role. The Bundesliga was relatively poor in the mid-2000s, which made for a more unpredictable league, but one in which there just wasn’t a team with the class to contend. Bayern didn’t have hopes of winning the Champions League, and did just enough in the transfer market to succeed. Of course, they have repeatedly failed to defend their title, primarily due to their refusal to bring in adequate squad depth to take some weight off the stars’ shoulders after a big tournament like Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.

“Things are changing now, of course, as teams like Dortmund are able to produce top class line-ups for pennies, thanks to good scouts and the quality of youth being produced all over Germany.

“There are some other differences, however: culturally, clubs see a match against Bayern as an opportunity, not a death sentence. They give an extra 10% in such games – you won’t see opponents fielding reserves in Germany when they face a top side, unlike what we’ve seen at times in England and Spain.”

 

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