After a phenomenal season, the Deutscher Meister are ready to take their success to the next level. The motto is simple – to keep the momentum going. Build a team, maintain its core season after season and make necessary additions whenever the need arises. For a team that has won the Bundesliga the way Dortmund did, it might just appear that there is no need for them to get involved in player-shopping. But heck, such a need will always be there! A few players are asked to leave with age not on their side, presence of a few does not interest the manager at all, a few younger ones set in for a loan spell to get first team action and a few gets frisked by Real Madrid!

Dortmund had all four of those kinds. As a result of which we saw seven players leaving the club despite a successful domestic season, three of which have been loaned out to get experience. Let us have a look at the players who all have left by creating voids in all three departments of the game:

The Exodus

Nuri Sahin

After spending a little over a decade with the club, fans’ favorite Nuri has decided to look for pastures new. Sahin’s rise was quick, becoming the youngest player to have played in Bundesliga at the age of 16 (2005) and then becoming the youngest player to have scored a goal in Bundesliga as well (2005). A culminant season with Dortmund earned him the player of the season award. Such great an honor ushers the expectations of maturity and responsibility. And along with it comes the threat of Real Madrid. The latter has such an aura in its brand name that a budding talent can never refuse. As expected, the midfield stalwart of Dortmund gets shipped to the Spanish capital for only €12m.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – Sometimes you just hope your players do not turn up to be too good. Sigh!

Auf Wiedersehen, Sahin


After spending 13 years with the club, this summer will see the departure of club legend Leonardo de Deus Santos aka Dedê. The Brazilian fullback joined Dortmund only a season after Dortmund’s historic Champions’ League victory. He was an integral part of the team that won the league in 2002. He also endured the tough phase with Dortmund when they were nearing a financial meltdown. For the past couple of seasons he was plagued with injuries. In the meantime, with Schmelzer’s rise, he was relegated to a second choice fullback. His contract has not been renewed this season.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – Serves well to both the parties involved!

Markus Feulner

Emerged through the academy of Bayern Munich, Feulner could not establish himself in the Bayern midfield. A couple of seasons back, Klopp snapped him up from Mainz on free transfer. He has been a part of two Bundesliga winning teams – Bayern (2002-2003) and Dortmund (last season). It was reported that his wages were comparatively high for a fringe player who has contributed only 24 minutes on the field in 6 games last season. With his contract lasting for only another year, Dortmund offloaded him for a fee of €250k.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – Again, serves well to both the parties involved!

Tamás Hajnal

The Hungary international, who had a great first season with Dortmund (2008-2009), has been allowed to join Stuttgart at the end of the recently concluded season. The playmaker had an injury-stricken second season where he still featured in 21 games. This season he was again let down by injuries as he missed the entire first half. He was loaned out to Stuttgart in the winter transfer window and was later signed by the club.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – It seems to be a good decision!


Marco Stiepermann

The offensive all-rounder has been loaned out to Alemannia Aachen where he will be reunited with former Dortmund youth coach Peter Hyballa for his development.

Lasse Sobiech

Touted as a future star, the defender, who is an integral part of the national youth team, is expected to continue his development with recently relegated St.Pauli for a year.

Daniel Ginczek

The promising young gun has been loaned out to Bochum for a year to get sufficient first team action.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – Good move to get the young lads ready for season 2012-2013.

Dimitar Rangelov

The striker never hit the form expected of him during his tenure at the club a couple of seasons back. Last season he was sent on loan to Maccabi Tel-Aviv but the spell does not seem to have done any good to his playing level. Dortmund seemed eager to listen to offers for him. Latest update from the official website of Energie Cottbus suggests that they have come to an agreement with Dortmund regarding another year long loan spell for the out of  favor targetman.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – It would have been good for Dortmund to offload him permanently.

This exodus did leave holes in the team’s overall structure. Number of fringe midfielders has been reduced – leading to a void in the backup and needing attention. Sahin’s place needed to be filled up, which in itself was a mighty task. Schmelzer has been left without a proper backup. The management did a handy job in identifying an apt successor of Nuri. Knowing that one may not be enough as Nuri’s replacement, they went for a few! The other attention needing departments were also addressed to, with conviction.

Meet The Borussians

Ilkay Gündoğan

Gündoğan is capable of playing in both advanced and withdrawn roles in central midfield. Though Gündoğan has drawn widespread comparisons to Nuri Sahin, he seems to be a more aggressive player than the former. The newcomer gravitates towards the edge of the box more often than not in Ozilesque fashion, a role penciled in for Kagawa in the team. The midfielder weighed in with five goals and three assists in 25 Bundesliga appearances last season. It depends on Klopp how he would like to accommodate this stripling in his plans for the future,

“[Gündoğan] is willing to learn and is very smart. He also brings a great attitude. Ilkay has a great passing game, is a complete player, and fits perfectly into our footballing system.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – Dicey. The pressure of expectation and battle to fight for a place in a packed midfield could either prove to be detrimental for his development or just mould him into another German great in the making.

Ivan Perišić

The new Croatian recruit was elected as the Player of the Year in the Belgian League last season. He was also the highest scorer of the season. Though, he prefers the role of a number 10, he was asked to play as a left forward – and the number of goals scored shows that Club Brugge reaped rich dividend by doing so. He could land competition to Grosskreutz, Kagawa and Lewandowski as he can play in all these positions. According to Sporting Director Zorc,

“[Perišić] is a guy like Michael Ballack, only much faster than the Leverkusen player. He can play in a standard 4-2-3-1 on the left or central behind the striker. Perišić has the advantage that he can play deep and bring the ball out.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – This seems to be a good signing.

Could be the signing of the season

Chris Lowe

The young gun has been signed from fourth division side Chemnitz. Lynx is predominantly a left-sided player who can play in midfield as well as defense. He has been signed primarily to play as Schmelzer’s deputy. The lad has played 32 league games so far and has scored 4 goals and provided 11 assists.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – Dicey. Let us see how he steps up his game to adapt his playing level from fourth division to the top one.

Mustafa Amini

The Central Coast Mariners midfielder had impressed Klopp when he came for a trial with the champions. It is reported that Amini has agreed a four-year contract with Dortmund and all that is left is that the two clubs need to agree on the transfer fee. Amini is a modern day playmaker with great technique and quick-feet. Accodring to the deal, Amini will go back on loan to the Mariners for a year to continue his development there.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – A bold statement!

Ensar Baykan

The former Arminia Bielefeld U19 member can play as an attacking midfielder as well as a winger. He has already capped thrice for Turkish U17 team. For now he’ll be a part of Dortmund’s U23 team to play in the Regionalliga.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – The signing shows the intent of Klopp & Co. who believe in catching ‘em young.

Florian Hubner

The Centre Half has signed a two year contract with the champions from SV Wehen Wiesbaden. Like Baykan, Hubner will serve the U23 team for now.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – As good as the signing of Baykan.

Loan Returned Ones

Julian Koch

Koch played an important part in Duisburg’s Cinderella story last season, receiving rave reputation for his defensive displays making him one of their best players in the fall campaign. This talented right-back can play as a centre half as well. He can also be used as a defensive midfielder. Injury will probably keep him out till the autumn. When he gets back, however, Piszczek might have to be on his toes.

Moritz Leitner

This Germany U19 member hogged the limelight for scoring a 35-yard screamer for the national squad. The midfielder has already hit the net 7 times in only 8 games. The diminutive attacking midfielder has great vision and good range of passing. He was signed by Dortmund following his exploits with 1860 Munich and was loaned out to Augsburg to gain match practice.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – The kind of talent Koch and Leitner are, they’ll surely get their chances. Both of them are going to be miss significant part of the season due to injury but they have a future at the club.

With these signings and loan-returnees, Dortmund have more or less taken care of the voids created by the departed players in all dimensions of their team, from defense to attack. There are, of course, a few more players Dortmund are rumored to be interested in to strengthen the squad a bit more. Playing Champions League will mean that they’ve to play a few more games and will need fresh legs to compete in all the tournaments.

The Vineyard’ Smell

Mohammed Zidan is on the move

Zidan missed much of last year’s campaign due to injury. With the new signings and potential plans of Klopp, Zidan might just find himself at the other end of Klopp’s idea. Rumors are strong that Al-Halil are interested to get his services. In Zidan’s own words,

“With the signing of Ivan Perišić, Dortmund have acquired even greater depth in attack. Still, I would like in any case to play more often than I did last season. If that does not happen at der BVB, then somewhere else if needs be.”

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – Goes down well both parties involved.

Zidan looking for life ahead of Dortmund

Florian Kringe ready to quit Dortmund

Despite being at the club for more than 15 years, the holding midfielder was never able to hold his position in the team. He was shipped to Koln for a three-year loan deal once, and couple of seasons back he was loaned to Hertha Berlin. Injury has not been kind to him and now with the arrival of plenty of new faces, Kringe has expressed his desire to move out to get regular action,

We did not beat around the bush. We are now trying to quickly find a good solution. I have no desire to simply serve out this contract.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – Again, good for both parties.

Dortmund Interested in Albin Ekdal

The Swedish U21 member is co-owned by Juventus and Bologna. Dortmund are said to be interested in signing this midfielder to fill up the lack of depth in the attacking third.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – With so many midfielders already on the payroll, this one looks unlikely.

In the hunt for Manuel Schmiedebach

Schmiedebach had a decent season with Hannover and Dortmund have not yet signed a proper defensive midfielder, they seemed to be interested in this deal.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – Unlikely.

Samba Diakite to Dortmund

Nancy’s defensive midfielder seemed to have attracted the interest of Klopp & Co.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – Unlikely as so many midfielders have already been signed.

Dortmund take note of Marvin Martin

The Sochaux playmaker has had a tremendous season with the Ligue 1 outfit. The Little Xavi has notched 17 assists this season, a record in Ligue 1. His exploits did not go unnoticed and Blanc called him up for the friendly against Ukraine. He came off the bench to score twice and provided an assist en route France’s 4-1 victory. Dortmund are reported to be hot on trails of this playmaker since then.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – A good prospect but not likely.

Dortmund to sign Danish sensation?

Just like Bayern, even Dortmund are rumored to be interested in Super Nick (Arsenal’s Nicolas Bendtner). Dortmund are in need of an out and out striker as they do not have anyone in that mould except for Barrios.

TheHardTackle’s Verdict – The price tag itself is enough to put off this deal, irrespective of the need. Dortmund have though, quashed any such possibility.