As we enter a new decade, The Hard Tackle takes a look at the best players to have represented Borussia Dortmund over the past ten years.
Borussia Dortmund arguably enjoyed the most important phase in their history over the course of the past ten years. The Black and Yellows sealed two Bundesliga titles and reached the final of the UEFA Champions League in 2013.
Although things haven’t panned out perfectly since, they have enjoyed immense growth internationally, emerging as one of the powerhouses of European football.
During the previous decade, Dortmund also produced a host of talented players, who helped the Ruhrpott giants pose a strong challenge to Bayern Munich. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will pick out the best team possible team for Borussia Dortmund in this past decade.
GK: Roman Weidenfeller
One of the longest-serving players for Borussia Dortmund in this 21st century, Roman Weidenfeller joined the club way back in 2002 before retiring in 2018. He had made 453 competitive appearances for the Black and Yellows in all competitions.
But, as far as the last decade is concerned, Weidenfeller’s services in goal were critical as Dortmund lifted the domestic double in 2012. Although he definitely declined following the 2014-15 campaign, there is no one worthy enough to replace the ex-Lautern ‘keeper.
RB: Lukasz Piszczek
Lukasz Piszczek is the most senior player in the current Borussia Dortmund side. He has been their number one right-back ever since he joined from Hertha Berlin in 2010. The Pole has made 345 competitive appearances for Dortmund.
Known for his mentality and incredible commitment, Piszczek’s aggression epitomised the ruthless Dortmund side under Jurgen Klopp. The veteran defender also deserves credit for integrating to a possession-based style of play following the departure of the current Liverpool boss.
CB: Neven Subotic
Due to the sheer mediocrity of the defenders Dortmund signed following the decline of Neven Subotic, we had no choice but to include the Serb in this lineup. Subotic was a fan favourite at Westfalenstadion, particularly due to his incredible personality.
His defensive contributions were invaluable when Dortmund won the Bundesliga in 2011, followed by a domestic double the following campaign. Following the 2014-15 campaign, Subotic’s progress was halted by recurring injuries before he eventually left the club in January 2018. He is still, however, considered as one of the favourites at the Signal Iduna Park.
CB: Mats Hummels
One of the easiest picks on this list, Mats Hummels has been the face of the Borussia Dortmund whenever he has been a part of the team. He was the one who marshalled the backline when Die Schwarzgelben were enjoying their golden years under Klopp.
Hummels’ partnership with Subotic was considered as one of the best in Europe, especially from 2011 to 2013. He did leave the club in 2016, but returned last summer and is now once again a key component in the Dortmund backline.
LB: Marcel Schmelzer
By far the toughest pick on this list, Marcel Schmelzer gets the nod at left-back simply due to the lack of quality when it came to other options. Nonetheless, the German was one of the best in the Bundesliga when Dortmund won the double.
After that, Schmelzer gradually started to decline, although he has already notched up 361 competitive appearances for the club. Currently, Schmelzer is not even a second-choice left-back for Lucien Favre, and at the age of 31, it might be an ideal time to move on.
CM: Axel Witsel
Axel Witsel only arrived at Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2018, for a fee of €20 million. He has featured in just 64 competitive matches for the club. But, his impact has been monumental; so much so, that we had to include him in this team ahead of the likes of Sebastian Kehl and Nuri Sahin.
Indeed, Witsel immediately emerged as one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga. He has provided a sense of solidity in the build-up play, and his composure has made Dortmund much more effective in the middle third under Favre.
CM: Ilkay Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan is an obvious pick as he is by far the best central midfielder Dortmund had in the past decade. The German international, who initially joined the club in 2011 in a €5.5 million deal, enjoyed his breakthrough in his first season at the club.
Gundogan then went onto become one of the most ever-present figures in the Dortmund midfield. His contributions were critical behind their domestic double in 2012, followed by their incredible journey to the final of the UEFA Champions League the following year. Gundogan eventually left Dortmund in 2016 in favour of a €27 million move to Manchester City.
AM: Mario Gotze
It was a difficult decision to include Mario Gotze in this team given the fact that the midfielder always declined following his controversial move to Bayern Munich in 2013. But, his contributions in the final third were critical behind Dortmund’s rise to prominence under Klopp.
Gotze notably mustered 15 assists during the 2010-11 campaign, when Die Schwarzgelben secured the Bundesliga title. And overall, he has made 214 appearances for the club, scoring 45 goals while registering 65 assists, giving him the edge over Shinji Kagawa.
AM: Marco Reus
It is impossible to imagine a Borussia Dortmund side without the presence of Marco Reus. The homegrown star has become an invaluable figure to not only his club but also his nation, having performed consistently ever since his breakout in the 2009-10 campaign with Borussia Monchengladbach.
Reus arrived at Dortmund in 2012 and was involved in a whopping 35 goals in his debut season, notably helping the club reach the final of the UEFA Champions League. Overall, the German international has netted 127 goals and has mustered up 80 assists in 262 competitive matches.
As far as records are concerned, only six players have scored more goals than Reus in Dortmund’s history, only one of whom was not a centre forward (Michael Zorc). Moreover, his tally of 80 assists is bettered only by Andrea Moller. Hence, it won’t be an exaggeration to consider Reus as a club legend.
ST: Robert Lewandowski
While Reus is already enjoyed a legendary status at Dortmund, Robert Lewandowski will go down in the history books as one of the best attackers the club ever had.
The Pole, upon arriving from Lech Poznan in 2010, made 187 competitive appearances for the club, scoring 103 goals while providing 43 assists. His 22 goals during the 2011-12 campaign helped Dortmund secure the domestic double while he also played a crucial role in helping the club reach the final of the Champions League following season.
Lewandowski’s performance against Real Madrid in the semi-final, in particular, is remembered as one of the best cameos in the history of the competition as the forward netted four goals to down Los Blancos in the first leg. Unfortunately for the Dortmund fans, the Pole ended up leaving the club in 2014, in favour of a move to Bayern Munich.
ST: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
It would have been unfair not to include Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in this team. He is the only player who has managed to outdo Lewandowski in terms of scoring statistics, with the Gabonese international netting 141 goals in 213 competitive matches during his five-year spell in the Bundesliga.
Aubameyang’s efficiency in front of goal helped the German giants evolve as a team under several different managers before he eventually left the club in 2018 to join Arsenal. His ‘bromance’ with Reus was one of the highlights of his time in the Bundesliga, with the duo even featuring in a music video.
Borussia Dortmund Team of the Decade: Roman Weidenfeller; Lukasz Piszczek, Neven Subotic, Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer; Axel Witsel, Ilkay Gundogan; Mario Gotze, Marco Reus; Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang