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 →
The news regarding Dortmund’s Bayern-bound wonderkid’s Champions League final lay-off has been overplayed in the pre-match media hype. With Marco Reus, Dortmund have the ideal man to fill the gap both tomorrow night and in the seasons to come argues Scott Jenkins…
As news broke of Mario Götze’s injury and likely absence from the all-Bundesliga UEFA Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, the sporting media broke out into a typical frenzy. Such a reaction is only natural you may think, after all this match is the highest profile game of the domestic football calendar with the player in question the current golden boy of German football. The subject of a controversial pending €37m summer switch between these two teams, and already hailed as the “German Messi” by Franz Beckenbauer, to casual eyes it seemed as though Dortmund’s most vital player had been snatched away from them even sooner than they had anticipated.
There can be no doubting that losing a player of Götze’s calibre is a loss for Dortmund, but what has been missed are the advantages his accelerated removal from the starting lineup could bring to BVB.
Step forward, Marco Reus.
The high flying, bleach-blond attacking midfielder was brought back to the club by Jürgen Klopp in July 2012 following a pre-contract agreement made during the previous winter break. Originally a product of the Dortmund youth set up, he left for German third division side Rot Weiss Ahlen in search of first team football. The risky move paid off with one of Reus’ goals for the club leading to promotion to the second tier of the Bundesliga on the final day of the season. At the end of the following campaign Borussia Mönchengladbach came calling and Reus’s first goal for them was a highlight reel 50 metre solo run against Mainz 05. Ninety seven games and thirty six goals later, including a run of seven strikes in twelve matches at the start of the 2011/12 season, Dortmund beckoned once more after meeting the €18m fee required to buy-out his contract. Continue reading →
In his final Old Trafford farewell as manager, Sir Alex not only showcased his humility but also the emotional intelligence that powered his title-winning record writes Scott Jenkins…
Sir Alex Ferguson bid farewell to his reign as manager of Manchester United in the most befitting style possible; as a champion. He also reminded us of how football can be guilty of forgetting the very nature of the people involved in the beautiful game. Behind every player or manager is a man with their own story and views on life.
There can be little disputing that Ferguson is the finest manager the game has ever seen. He has won a record haul of 38 trophies during his time as United manager including 13 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 4 League Cups, 10 Charity/Community Shields, 2 Champions Leagues, 1 Cup Winners Cup, 1 Super Cup, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 1 World Club Cup. And last Tuesday he announced that his position as the longest serving domestic coach at the biggest club in England was coming to an end with his impending retirement next weekend.
Amongst the many things that Sir Alex is famed for beyond aforementioned success include: his infamous half-time hair-dryer treatment, 26 years’ service at United, persistently chewing gum, wearing coats and of course, “Fergie time”. Yet one of the most underrated qualities he shows is his sincerity when it comes to the value of life and hard work, instilled in him from his working class background growing up in Govan, Glasgow. His appreciation of the intrinsic balance between these two vital qualities allowed him to get the best out of the temperamental Eric Cantona, gave strength to David Beckham following his dismissal at the France 1998 World Cup and the national vilification that followed, and defused the Ronaldo-Rooney issue post World Cup 2006. Continue reading →
Germany’s top division is the league of the moment, hailed as an emerging power by the great and the good of the European game. While others lose themselves to the hype, Scott Jenkins takes a step back to reassess the recent plaudits and ask what took everyone so long?
Before we start on this journey, I want you to cast your minds back to a time before Gareth Bale won both the Player Of The Year and the Young Player Of The Year awards. A time before QPR and Reading had been relegated and long before Sky Sports News had reached fever point over Arsenal’s prospective guard of honour (did anyone other than them actually care?). Instead I want you to return to last Thursday…
It’s the morning after the nights before. Those nights in question are of course Tuesday 23rd April where Bayern Munich (München to any German readers) destroyed Barcelona 4-0 and Wednesday 24th April when we all witnessed Borussia Dortmund’s 4-1 triumph over Real Madrid. Two Champions League Semi Final first legs, one aggregate score reading “Germany 8-1 Spain” and football’s biggest superstars left dejected, facing their greatest adversity of the season at its worst possible time. Continue reading →
The False Nine team respond to the results of the 2013 PFA Awards with their own picks for Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Manager of the Year…
Continuing on in his quest to become Wales’ answer to Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale was last night crowned as Player’s Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year at the 2013 PFA Awards at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. His double win follows in the footsteps of Ronaldo who achieved the same feat in 2007.
While the main prize of the PFA Awards is voted for by the players of the Premier League, here at TFN we didn’t want to miss out on the fun and so have taken upon ourselves to put forward our own picks for Player, Young Player and Manager of the Year. Continue reading →
Scott Jenkins asks whether Wayne Rooney has fulfilled his potential as he reaches a crossroads in his career…
The issue with Wayne Rooney is simply that there isn’t one that he can solely control. It’s inherently our own problem on how we view him and subsequently what we expect.
When the boy from Croxteth burst onto the scene at Everton as a 16 year old record breaker, scoring that goal against Arsenal, something happened. Suddenly fans, players, managers and media all bolted up and took notice of him. He was the name on everyone’s lips. The player every club wanted. Instantly he was the hope of a nation too. Continue reading →
Scott Jenkinsassesses the impact of Cristiano Ronaldo on Gareth Bale…
Every aspiring footballer idolises that one special player who is headlining the domestic league or leading their own team to glory and in turn tries to replicate their latest highlight reel moment on the local park and pitches. For my era when growing up and playing junior league football every time a free kick was won or lost, a familiar sequence would play out. Continue reading →