When Lars Ricken scored in the 71st minute at the home of rivals Bayern Munich in 1997 to win the Champions League, few would have imagined that the Die Schwarzgelben would be 120 million euros in debt by the end of 2004. But then few clubs have had a more drastic change in fortunes than BVB. Fast forward 8 years, and Dortmund are the toast of the continent. There rise to the top has been impressive, yet pleasantly surprising. The ideal team for neutrals, playing football the right way and now even getting the results. So what happened over the best part of the last decade? How did BVB Dortmund become the first team in almost two decades to deny Bayern Munich a title for two years straight? It all began at the top.

The change began with Reinhard Rauball becoming president for their finances the third time. The long term goal was to balance their finances, which required a futuristic sponsor and brooding of young German talents. In came the ever present Michael Zorc as the director of sports. Over the years, a lot changed at the top and the managerial musical chairs ended with the recruitment of Jurgen Klopp, who was out of contract having failed to achieve promotion with Mainz05.Ai??ai???JA?rgen Klopp was my best transfer. He and BVB looked for and found one anotherai??? Zorc toldAi??spox.comAi??in January, 2011.

Rauball: The man who started it all

.

The best part was, not only did Klopp change the playing philosophy but also managed to bring in relatively unknown players likeAi??Kevin Grosskreutz from Rot Weiss Ahlen, Ai??Lucas Barrios from Colo Colo, Mats Hummels from Bayern Munich andAi??Sven Bender from 1860 Munich and polish them into gems. The harvesting of youth was planned for the future, and has already started to show signs of success. The rise to prominence of Nuri Sahin was detrimental to the initial success Klopp enjoyed. He was the most important cog in the Dortmund machine, making the difference and turning the also rans into champions. His departure to Madrid didn’t hurt the club as much, cause of the sensational rise to stardom of one of the club’s own academy products in Mario Goetze.

The youth project was already a success.Ai??ai???We want to continue our way with young players. We are still at the beginning of the developmentai??? Zorc was quoted in the German Press Agency.Ai??The purchases of Robert Landowski,Ai??A?ukasz Piszczek and Shinji Kagawa in 2010 have proved to be steals in their own right. All these added to the rise and rise of Mario Goetze alongside the imminent arrival of Marco Reus come summer, and Klopp has sown seeds for the evolution of perhaps Europe’s most youthful footballing force. The cultivation of youth, along with the experience of winning trophies, is sure to make them a superpower to reckon with in the coming years.

The Klopp factor

The impact of Klopp cannot be overstated. He changed the shape, the formation, and injected a sharp-quick passing game along with defensive pressing. So much was his influence on the Borussia side that Watzke saidAi??ai???It was clear to us pretty quickly that Klopp and BVB just fit together. But it was not to be expected that the coach would get a hold of the team so quickly and fundamentally change the game style of Borussia within one yearai??? in an interview with Fussball.de. But success is dynamic and the past has definitely taught this DortmundAi??hierarchyAi??a strong lesson.

On November 25, 2011 the club extended Klopp’s contract by two years, commiting him to the club till 2014.Ai??ai???Something is developing here. I would like to continue to develop what I began. And I am certain that it will not be torn apartai??? Klopp spoke to the press having extended the contract. After being unable to hold on to the Turkish jewel Nuri Sahin,Ai??the German club has left no stone unturned since, in securing the future services of their star players either, beginning with the hottest German prospect, Mario goetze. Sven Bender andAi??Kevin Grosskreutz also committed their futures to the Black-Yellows. Veteran goalkeeperAi??Roman Weidenfeller also decided to extend his expiring contract till 2014. The stability of the club’s finances are largely a result of their long term sponsor Evonik, which has given the club the much required economic balance.

Another factor that makes them potential superpowers is their stance when it comes to the sale of players. They have been able to say no when asked for the services of star players, Barrios and Kagawa.Ai??ai???A Kagawa or a Barrios can give us more this year than a one-time transfer fee which must then be re-invested. Itai??i??s more about keeping this team with all its automatisms togetherai??? Watzke added in theAi??stern.deAi??interview.

The players deserve credit too, having shown immense loyalty. Matt Hummels has dismissed any chances of a return toMunich, as suggested by a clause in his contract. The german international saidAi??ai???I am a Borusse through and through and see Bayern as an opponent. I know what I have to thank Dortmund for and am not thinking about a transfer. I do not want to return to Bayern.

The next big move at the top happened during the clubai??i??s yearly general assembly on November 28, 2010. President Rauball was allowed to continue his term for three further years, in an unanimous decision. Having run the club from 1979-1982 and 1984-1986, the 63-year-old Rauball took over the publicly-traded club in 2004 from Niebaum when Dortmund was deep in debt and facing bankruptcy.

The club is home to one of the most intimidating stadia in world football, Signal Iduna Park.Ai??Having played in this year’s Champions League, the club aims to come back stronger next season, with more experience in their ranks. Ai??The group is extremely well knit and as long as they stay together, it will be hardly a surprise to see them reach for European glory and rewind the clock, two decades back. This team is capable of that, and with an astute manager in Jurgen Klopp, their potential might finally be on the brink of realization. A super club evolves.

___

Written byAi??Debarshee Mitra

Follow him on twitterAi??@goonerstar_deb

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8 Responses to “Borussia Dortmund – The Evolution Of A Super Club”

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  1. Prayag says:

    Could have included how hummels’ father was sacked from bayern, made him even more determined to stay at bvb and possibly increasing the rivalry between the two! #freeAdvice ๐Ÿ˜›

    • Debarshee says:

      Lol, yeah that’s a good point. ๐Ÿ˜› But honestly i wanted to keep it short, else could have also mentioned how Goetze denied Munich’s approach, and also Reus chose BVB too.

  2. Shivam says:

    The rise of BVB has added to the spice of BuLi! They’s re not a one-off and that much is clear. Great Youth set-up, great stadium, coach. and how ever o stupid of bayern to let a player like hummels go!!

  3. Debarshee says:

    Ofcourse they are no flash in the pan. Munich may have the bigger names, but Klopp has given BVB their own identity, and if they have a good summer, they should be favourites to defend their crown!

  4. Marty says:

    At the beginning of this season many so-called football expert said that Borussia Dortmund was only a one-hit-wonder and Bayern Munich would be the champion. Ha, not a bit of it! All teams wanted to beat the last year youngest champion ever. During the Champions-League first round we learned it the hard way and we started improving. That is the most fascinating thing to me โ€“ how fast this team improves and learns from mistakes. And improvement will continue to expand and flourish! I am certain of it!

    I am looking forward to seeing our team next season in Bundesliga and particularly in Champions League.

    Marty (derpoehler.com)

  5. anky says:

    Very well written summary Debarshee! and the yellow wall in the stadium is the best support a team can have. and having beaten second, third and fourth team in BuLi they really deserve it. unbeaten since 26 games, and if they win the missing three matches, no team ever before in the history of BuLi will have had so many points in one season… i really wish them some more experience to enter an interesting Champions League next season.

    • Debarshee says:

      Absolutely, though Kagawa will be a huge loss. Reus coming in will help, add to that, this year’s CL experience, and we might get a better show from the Yellow-Blacks next term.