Borussia Dortmund looks set to rival Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga for years to come, after signing a deal that could secure its financial future and help fund the purchase of new stars.
The Schwarzgelben will rake in nearly 27 million euros in cash through the sale of a 9 percent stake in the club to Evonik, valuing the second-place side at 300 million euros. The German specialty chemicals company, whose corporate logo is emblazoned on the jerseys of BVB players like Marco Reus, also agreed to extend its eleven-year sponsorship of the club until 2025.
“The new sponsorship agreement and Evonik’s stake in BVB mean we will consistently be able to field top players both in Germany and abroad,” said BVB Managing Director Hans-Joachim Watzke in a statement published on its website on Friday.
The working class club, based in the economically-depressed steel and mining region of the Ruhr in northwest Germany, has become a serious threat to Bayern ever since trainer Juergen Klopp first fielded a scrappy ensemble of talents that went on to win the title four years ago with a refreshing brand of counter-attacking football.
After winning the championship for two years in a row, BVB landed a coup when it convinced Marco Reus from Borussia Moechengladbach to return to his hometown and play for Dortmund despite Munich waving its checkbook repeatedly in a bid to bring the rising star to the Allianz Arena.
Bayern, however, traditionally does not tolerate the emergence of a longterm rival within the league, and has gained a reputation for the targeted weakening of opposing sides through the acquisition their key players such as Michael Ballack of Bayer Leverkusen or Miroslav Klose from Werder Bremen before the clubs can cement their success.
After Munich wrestled the crown back from Dortmund in the past two seasons and defeated the Schwarzgelben in Wembley to win the Champions League, Bayern poached BVB starlet Mario Goetze out from under the nose of Watzke by paying 37 million to automatically release him from his contract. Most recently Bayern looks to welcomes Dortmund’s clinical striker Robert Lewandowski as part of the team come next season, a deal which has helped sour relations further between the two clubs.
Bayern has been able to finance the deals thanks to its substantial warchest. It upped the stakes in February by selling an 8.3 percent stake worth 110 million euros to insurer Allianz, the third German company to take a stake in the club, in order to pay off the remaining liabilities from the construction of the Allianz Arena and leave Bayern Munich debt-free.
In a bid to keep pace with their wealthier rival, Dortmund had entered into exploratory talks with Deutsche Bank over the sale of a stake to Germany’s leading lender. Negotiations fell through earlier this month, however.
Although the cash injection by Evonik may not be anywhere near as lucrative as the Allianz deal, it sends a signal that Dortmund can tap corporate investors to raise fresh funds as it seeks to challenge Bayern’s dominance in the coming seasons.
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