The end of Thomas Tuchel’s first year as Borussia Dortmund didn’t have any trophy to show, but the fans at Westfalenstadion must be an excited lot going into the 2016-17 season.The departure of Mats Hummels has been like a dagger to their hearts, but they have endured it before. The departure of Ilkay Gundogan and Henrikh was a big blow. Shorn of the Bundesliga player of the year for 2015-16, Mkhitaryan’s departure would be the one which will be arguably felt the most. With 19 goals and 15 assists, it was his partnership with Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that was the driving force behind BVB’s challenge, one that looked very likely till April. With Aubameyang’s future still subject to rumours, the Rhein-based club have acted decisively and smartly in the transfer market.
The Bavarians maybe Stronger, but Dortmund are here to Challenge
Ousmane Dembele was a man in demand from the January transfer window itself. Having been courted by a host of European powerhouses, it was BVB who were able to land their man. At €15 million, he may prove to be a bargain in future. More importantly, he will be drafted as a direct replacement for Mkhitaryan. Not an easy task by any means though. But one, as his exploits at Rennes suggested, he may well end up performing efficiently. Adept with both feet, he will provide the attacking threat from the wing. Considering the amount paid by BVB’s bundesliga rivals Bayern have for the prodigious Renato Sanches, Dembele is comparatively a better but. Granted, Sanches has shone for Portugal on the European stage, but he made his debut last year, akin to Dembele. The battle between these two men is bound to excite fans from both sides. Another impressive piece of business done has been that of Raphael Guerreiro.The Portuguese was bought by the club before the Euro 2016 began. It is only worth wondering then, would he have still been on market at €12 million, the sum that Dortmund paid.
Though physically inferior to Moussa Sissoko, the youngster didn’t give up and was a menace going forward. His vicious free kick could well have elevated him the goal soring hero instead of his compatriot Eder. But apart from the final, his performances have largely been impressive and he has drawn praise from all quarters for his tenacity as well as his maturity at such a big stage. Emre Mor, another unknown commodity is also well revered for his talent.Dortmund will hope that it is indeed the case. But the way in which the Westfalenstadion based outfit have gone about replacing the void left at the heart of defense is the highlight of their astute acquisition process. Marc Bartra, who was deemed surplus by Luis Enrique will be entrusted with making sure that Mats Hummel’s departure’s blow is softened to the minimum. Having pocketed around €107 million from the sales of Hummels, Mkhitaryan and Gundogan, the Dortmund board has spent close to €58 million thus far. Some more signings can be made but are less likely. Neven Subotic’s departure may call for one additional to buy to give cover.
Attacking, exciting and unfortunately selling: The perfect club for ambitious youngsters
The reason why some of the Europe’s best players are developed at Westfalenstadion is not hard to see. Being thorough proponents of attacking football, it can be argued that they would have won more had they been playing in any other league. Year after year, the Dortmund supporters have seen their biggest stars join their most hated rivals.Bayern Munich are undoubtedly a big club but a close look reveals why the Bavarian giants have achieved unparalleled success in the Bundesliga. Weakening their rivals year after year has been a cornerstone of their transfer strategy. Apart from Bayern, the lure of big money moves from English clubs is hard to turn down. More so in the light of the mega money TV deal kicking in from this year but one look at their journey in Europa league can highlight what they offer. Demolishing the likes of Tottenham, a club which was challenging for the title till April, is a testament of their strength at the European stage. Also, from a personal point of view, a young player can look at the likes of Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowski, Nuri Sahin, Hummels, Gundogan and Mkhitaryan to be convinced that they are highly likely to be financially rewarded for their talents in future.
With Carlo Ancelotti in their ranks, and Hummels and Renato Sanches in their teams,Bayern Munich have grown to be even more formidable.But so have the runners-up.