The season is over for Borussia Dortmund, but some think it seems more like the end of a very short era of immense success. Mario Gotze is leaving to their big rivals, while Robert Lewandowski might be headed the same way as well. The worst of it? They’re not alone, as Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus and Sven Bender are all linked to transfers that might tear the club apart.
Klopp and the team seem to be quite aware of the “abandon ship” feeling, despite the success of this season, and when looking back at their rise since he arrived at the club it’s hard to see anything but money that can push these players out of the club. Dortmund have won two league titles over the last three seasons and have reached the Champions League final, showing that despite not having the deepest squad in the world, they’re more than capable, through their talent and their tactics to compete with the best teams in Europe.
And yet, Klopp has already announced that if they’ll be forced to start selling, they’ll just bring up and purchase better players. Christian Eriksen from Ajax is on their target list, and so is Kevin de Bruyne who played for Werder Bremen and belongs to Chelsea.
Dortmund’s masterplan was to sell one star a season, like they did with Shinji Kagawa, and build on the remaining squad by adding young talent, even if it’s expensive, like Marco Reus from Monchengladbach.
This season the plan seemed to be selling Robert Lewandowski, who has been on fire for the last couple of seasons (66 goals in 88 matches). Manchester United have been interested for quite some time, but his performances in the Champions League have raised the interest of other clubs, including Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
But then the Mario Gotze thing happened, and it looked like Dortmund are a little bit more vulnerable to a “hostile takeover” than anyone thought. Gotze’s release clause was activated (€37 million), and now it seems he is not the last name to leave Dortmund, even if not everyone will be joining Bayern Munich, who plan on giving quite an impressive squad to Pep Guardiola once he officially begins his job.
Sven Bender, the 24 year-old defensive midfielder didn’t have the best of finals, but when healthy (which isn’t too often) he’s one of the best at his job in Germany, with the potential to be one of the best in Europe. Premier League clubs, and especially Manchester United, have shown some serious interest in his talents. Dortmund don’t have to worry that much, because his contract runs until 2017.
22-Year old Ilkay Gundogan, who has been excellent for the team since taking over for Nuri Sahin in the middle of the pitch, is another player Dortmund will have to contend for with other clubs, as a strong interest from both Barcelona and Real Madrid might be too much to resist. Mats Hummels, who has been on that rumor mill for quite some time, has been a serious target for Barcelona since Euro 2012.
Dortmund’s goal? Keeping almost anyone, and remaining a team that has the potential to be in the top 8 of the Champions League each season, while sustaining its status as the main competitor to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. It seems the battle lines have been drawn to this summer, and letting too many players go, even for insane sums of money that will certainly help the club, means their time at or near the top of the league and European football was short-lived once more.