FC Bayern Munchen is the undisputed top dog of German football and has been for quite some time now. The Bundesliga is turning into the “Bayernliga.” For a few years now, Borussia Dortmund has been Bayern’s main competitor. Although BVB were on the verge of bankruptcy in 2005, Dortmund broke into the scene again under the guidance of Jürgen Klopp, winning back to back titles in 2010-11 and 2011-12 season, as well as reaching the Champions League Final in 2013.
But after Dortmund’s double in 2011-12, Bayern nipped the Black and Yellow trouble in the bud and started splashing the cash. Indeed, since the summer of 2013, Bayern have spent €185.7 million euros (source Transfermarkt.com), which helped Bayern dominate their Bundesliga rivals and paving the way for three consecutive titles and two DFB Cups. Meanwhile, Dortmund only managed to finish second twice, while last season, they had a finished a horrible seventh.
Under Thomas Tuchel, Dortmund now looks like a club growing by leaps and bounds, but is growing enough to challenge Bayern for the title? My is answer NO! I will explain my thinking through the following supporting points.
Money? Yes. Aggression? No.
Let’s start with some recent history. The decision of selling their two important players to their closest title rivals was ludicrous to say the least. Borussia Dortmund sold Mario Götze to rivals Bayern for £35 million, at the moment that looks like a good business only because Götze is not showing his brilliance and to be honest, it seems that he had only one good season with Dortmund. But next year, Dortmund let Robert Lewandowski to go to rivals Bayern again and astonishingly as a free transfer. There was a lot of antipathy in the transfer and each and every Dortmund fan including me was sad. (Lewandowski is now one of the greatest strikers in the world and is worth about €60 million now.)
Don’t be fooled. Borussia Dortmund have cash! Their dozy work in the market might lead you to believe otherwise, but Dortmund have a serious amounts of cash. For example, they are ranked 11th in the Forbes magazine list of the world’s richest football clubs! Dortmund have established themselves and built a clear management structure. Club CEO Hans Joachim Watzke and Sporting director Michael Zorc work together to ensure that every aspect of the club’s business is sustainable. In the market, Dortmund implements a style around making profits, while buying any player.
The main problem for Dortmund in the market is that they show no real aggression in the transfer market.
Dortmund just don’t go for good, insane players who cost loads of money. In the past, deals for Christian Eriksen, Kevin De Bruyne etc. have gone down due to their lack of urgency. When a deal looks likely to happen, Dortmund often seem to get unobservant which pops up the whole deal. What are we doing with this policy? Buying young players for cheap money and developing them just to see them win trophies with the so called ‘Big teams’?
To illustrate my point, consider the case of Atletico Madrid, for example. I have mentioned Atletico because very few would disagree that Dortmund and Atletico both focus more on the youth development but there is a huge difference between these two clubs.
Atletico act aggressively in the market and feel free to spend which revs up their status too. Atletico bought players like Griezmann, Carrasco, Martinez for big money but at the same time they buy cheap young players too (Ángel Correa, Matías Kranevitter) but like Dortmund, they lose their key players too yet they have found the right players as replacements thanks to their very well organized transfer activity and now they pose a big threat to Barca and Real Madrid, while for Dortmund, buying these players are just a mere dream.
Lack of Ambition
While we say that Dortmund club bosses play a huge role in order to keep Dortmund’s financial solidity intact but at the same time, they play a huge role letting down the confidence from fans and players with their shitty quotes. Disclaimer: I’m sorry to be critical here but BVB’s leadership show no real ambition or aggression whatsoever. Watzke told Bild in November that “Bayern’s Bundesliga dominance won’t end soon” and “It is very much likely that Bayern will win the title for the next three years.” And according to ESPN, Watzke also declared that Dortmund can’t compete with Bayern this season, he said that before the start of the season and when, Jürgen Klopp announced that he will be leaving, Watzke also told the Rheinische Post “Jürgen Klopp is a candidate for every top club. Klopp and Bayern would be 100 percent suitable. You can’t do much wrong at Bayern anyway – they win the Bundesliga whatever happens.”
These Watzke quotes do nothing but to blow away all the confidence from the players and winning mentality from the team. Furthermore, the quotes underlie an attitude toward Bayern that prevents Dortmund from going towards the top.
In the “Bayernliga,” according to a previous article by Dennis Liedschulte, Borussia Dortmund were supposed to be the Bunsesliga’s Obi Wan Kenobi for princess Leia in Star Wars. Having a small transfer budget will win you the lottery once every 100 tries, something which happened in 2011-12 season. The highest Dortmund have ever paid for transfer was Mkhitaryan for €27 million but that sum is relatively small compared to some other successful teams today(Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Inter). But if you want to stay relevant and win trophies you have to spend more than this to grow more international market as well. But just saying, spending €11 million euros on Castro as your main acquisition in the summer will only get you a front row ticket to watch Bayern lift the trophy, again, again and again.
Of course I’m not going against the unique traditions of the Bundesliga, which keeps the league class apart from all the other leagues nor am I suggesting that only staying relevant to trophies describes an actual club, football is far more than just winning trophies but seriously, Dortmund can’t overhear the fearful sentence of princess Bayernliga, oops Bundesliga: “Save me Borussia Dortmund, you are my last hope”
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