Last season ended on a bitter-sweet note for Borussia Dortmund, with the near-glory of a memorable, all-German Champions League final and the loss of Mario Götze. Scott Jenkins takes a look at how Jürgen Klopp is moving on to face the new challenge of Pep Guardiola’s reign at the Allianz Arena this year…
Tuesday 23rd April is a date that will live long in the minds of Dortmund fans. Just one day before the club’s Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid, Mario Götze announced that he would be moving to the club’s Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich for €37million at the end of the season.
Media outlets across the globe questioned whether Borussia would be able to focus on the fixture and how the impact of Götze’s impending departure would affect the squad. Pundits predicted Jürgen Klopp’s men would be put to the sword, rattled by the departure, with Madrid not only boasting the phenomenal Cristiano Ronaldo but the self-styled “The Special One” managing from the sidelines. If any coach was able to take advantage of such a scenario and twist the knife, it was Jose Mourinho.
The news of Götze’s defection cut the normally enigmatic Borussia Dortmund manager, Klopp deep. Losing perhaps your best player, a potential world beater developed from the club’s own academy no less, would have hurt any coach, especially one so committed to nurturing and entrusting young talent as the former Mainz defender. Klopp later admitted in an interview with The Guardian that the loss felt like a heart attack, causing him to cancel the public events he had planned for that evening as he had been rendered speechless.
However, if anything the news that Dortmund would be losing their wonderkid to the all-dominant Munich monopoly galvanised Die Schwarzgelben, instilling a now-or-never sense of destiny to their European campaign. Though they had been written off against the reigning La Liga champion, 90 minutes later the scoreboard told a different story: “Borussia Dortmund 4 -1 Real Madrid”. Continue reading →
It’s that time of year again. Players are returning to their clubs to start training and pre-season has begun. The False Nine have scoured the schedules of clubs up and down the country and picked out some of our favourite pre-season friendlies…
1. Whitehawk vs. Brighton and Hove Albion – 6th July, The Enclosed Ground
Brighton won many plaudits last season for the attractive football played under Gus Poyet and new manager Oscar Garcia has promised to maintain this style. As a former Barcelona player and youth manager, Garcia is no stranger to attacking, free-flowing play. In his first friendly at the helm, Brighton take on Whitehawk, a local non-league side who won promotion to the Conference South last season. Recently, a plan was floated to change their name to ‘Brighton City’ in order to put them on the map but for now they remain as Whitehawk. Does this represent something of a local ‘Brighton Derby’ then? Ties between the clubs are not uncommon and Whitehawk are managed by former Brighton winger Darren Freeman. Continue reading →
The Hypothetical XI series returns as David Wild looks at expensive transfers which became glorified loan moves…
Football likes to reflect our social habits in a microcosm. Maybe it was that particuarly jazzy t-shirt you thought you’d buy one breezy summer’s day. Maybe it was that Guitar you bought, promising yourself that you’d know more than Purple Rain by next month. Or maybe it was that revolutionary shiatsu massage machine you got for yourself thinking it was the thing that was going to change your life forever.
The common theme running throughout all of these purchases is that we spent a lot of money, expected a great deal, and were left empty, disappointed and unfulfilled. Eventually all too soon we cast aside the objects of our desires. Out of disinterest, out of embarassment out of disgust. Feelings of deep regret prevented us from looking at them; sometimes we’d even just forgotten they were there.
Suitably football has seen to recreate this phenomenon in its own way. Year on year we’re greeted with the big signings who are seen by executives, managers and fans as the best thing since sliced bread. Year on year we see them inexplicably skirt around the fringes of the club before being swiftly ushered out of the door again. Essentially they may as well not have been owned by the club they were there for that short a time; they become football’s tribute to Wonga, an incredibly expensive loan. Here are some of the best: Continue reading →