Life Without Sahin – and How Many Others?

Posted on May 11, 2011

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Borussia Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin signed a six-year deal with Real Madrid on Monday after the Spanish giants splashed out €10m to secure his signature.

The 22-year-old has been influential in Die Borussen’s fantastic campaign which was capped off last weekend with Dortmund sealing their first Bundesliga championship in nine years.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have taken the German top-flight by storm and his young side have raked in the plaudits for an exciting brand of football at Signal Iduna Park. BvB impressed during the first-half of the season, winning 14 from 16 Bundesliga games, before stuttering in the second half of the campaign which at least kept things interesting from a neutral perspective.

Bundesliga aficionado’s across the world are eager to see Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League next season against Europe’s top clubs but their fears have been realised after Sahin’s departure to Real Madrid.

Even with Gotze, Barrios and Kagawa taking the plaudits for their classy performances this season, Sahin’s loss could have a catastrophic effect on the future of this new generation at Borussia Dortmund.

The German-born Turkish midfielder is deployed in the heart of Dortmund’s midfield alongside Sven Bender, who himself has had a fantastic campaign, and Sahin has been given the responsibility of maintaining possession and starting attacks.

Unsurprisingly, Dortmund’s poorer patch of form in the second half of the season coincided with Nuri Sahin’s spell on the sidelines and his brief slump in form. Sahin is the heartbeat of the Dortmund midfield and has a terrific range of passing which could see him complement Xabi Alonso really well at Real Madrid. Sahin has a passing completion rate of 71% and has played over 2500 minutes this season for BvB.

Arguably, Klopp’s biggest challenge will be to find an exact replacement for Nuri Sahin in the summer.

Dortmund have already tied up Nurnberg’s Ilkay Gundogan on a four-year deal and many media outlets have suggested that he could be a direct replacement for Sahin. However, Gundogan plays in a more “attack-minded” role for Nurnberg, where as, Sahin is almost like a playmaker for BvB.

With the German champions still unable to compete with Europe’s top clubs, Klopp will need to do his best to fend off interest from Europe’s elite for some of Die Borussen’s prized assests.

Teenage sensation Mario Gotze has lit up the Bundesliga this season and has reportedly attracted interest from Manchester United and Arsenal.

Defender Mats Hummels stated in March that he was open to a move to potential suitors Tottenham Hostpur. Hummels told BILD: “I’ll only leave for Borussia for a top, top European club… I do not care if it’s in England, Italy or Spain.”

Despite Dortmund’s resistance to offers in the summer, the wealth of talent is naturally only going to attract the biggest clubs with the biggest money. As much as Shinji Kagawa’s injury was a hinderance in Dortmund’s season, he’ll not have attracted the same interest as Gotze, Hummels and Barrios who played throughout the year.

Jurgen Klopp was on the verge of building something special before Sahin’s departure and it is imperative that the Dortmund coach ties down his other star performers over the next few months for the fresh challenges of Champions League football next season.

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Posted in: Feature