Title Win Ends Turbulent Period for Die Borussen

Posted on May 6, 2011

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The thousands of Borussia Dortmund fans scattered across Germany and Europe will have the pleasure of enjoying the summer as Bundesliga champions for the first time in nine hectic years for the club.

43-year-old Head Coach Jurgen Klopp has masterminded Borussia Dortmund’s rise to the summit of German Football and with an average squad age of around 23, Klopp deserves every plaudit heading in his direction.

It has been a fairly turbulent nine years since Dortmund last won the Bundesliga in 2002 with a mixture of financial difficulties and near-misses on the park. In the same season that they last won the championship, Borussia Dortmund narrowly missed out on winning the UEFA Cup after a 3-2 defeat to Feyenoord in the De Kuip.

The defeat in Rotterdam seemed to be the catalyst for a period of difficulties that almost put the club out of business.

Dortmund racked up unsustainable debts in the quest to re-visit the glory days of 1997 when BvB, guided by the genius Ottmar Hitzfeld, became European Champions. In late 2002, Dortmund were even forced to sell their famous Westfalenstadion to try to re-pay debts in the region of 120 million euros.

Die Borussen’s troubles off the park were not helped by an under-performing team on the park that finished seventh in consecutive seasons, ninth, and as low as 13th in 2008. To resolve their financial woes, Dortmund took out a long-term bank loan worth around £80m over 15 years that was used to buy back 51% of the Westfalenstadion – now known as Signal Iduna Park.

Combined with a massive increase in Bundesliga TV money, matchday revenue and commercial income, Dortmund are on the road to cutting the debt down to a very small amount in relation to annual turnover.

The troubles seemed to ease further with the introduction of Jurgen Klopp in 2008 and the charismatic coach led BvB to sixth and fifth respectively in 2009 and 2010.

And in those years of steadying the ship, exciting gems such as Mario Gotze and Marcel Schmelzer were being nurtured as a wave of young German stars burst on to the scene after the World Cup in 2006.

In the first-team at that point was German-born Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin, who would eventually go on to skipper Die Schwarzgelben. 22-year-old Sahin has carved an excellent reputation in German football and has been one of Dortmund’s star performers this season.

The midfielder is the heartbeat of Klopp’s side and with an average passing completion ratio of 71% over the 30 Bundesliga matches he’s featured in this season, his influence has played a huge part in BvB’s success this season.

Dortmund’s excellent scouting network in Germany has unearthed a number of the current squad including Kevin Großkreutz and Neven Subotic who were both signed as youngsters from other clubs.

Further afield, Dortmund have brought in Shinji Kagawa for £300,000 from Japan, arguably the signing of the season, Robert Lewandowski and Lucas Barrios, the latter having joined for £4m last summer.

The German champions will be joined in next season’s UEFA Champions League by Bayer Leverkusen, and either FC Bayern Munich or surprise package Hannover 96, who have had a stunning season in the Bundesliga this season.

It would be a joy to see the current Dortmund side, plus a few decent additions in the summer, able to compete with Europe’s finest in the UEFA Champions League next season but with the vultures of European football circling over the likes of Mario Gotze, Lucas Barrios, and Nuri Sahin, who is believed to be heading to Real Madrid in the summer, it is unlikely we will get that pleasure.

Congratulations Borussia Dortmund – MEISTER 2010/2011!

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Posted in: Feature