TFN’s Simon Smith on why Juventus vs Dortmund runs deeper than Catenaccio versus Gegenpress…
Of the various ties in this Champions League last 16 to savour this week and next, there are many sub plots and rivalries to look forward to. Last week’s David Luiz derby might not have been the most enthralling, but with Carlo Ancelotti facing fellow former Abramovic employee Roberto Di Matteo in Schalke versus Real and Arsene Wenger’s reunion with Monaco there shall be no shortage of managerial talking points.Manchester City and Barcelona once again contest the Yaya Toure derby, although the match will most likely be more shaped by their experiences in last season’s clash. But none of this is what I’ve been looking forward to the most.
That would be the other semi-tenuous derby clash, the rematch of the 1997 Champions League final between Borussia Dortmund and Juventus. In tactical terms this is arguably the most intriguing match, and on paper one of the most evenly matched in a round that often provides mismatches for the larger clubs to sail to the latter stages. And, for differing reasons, this probably represents one of the more important ties for the two clubs themselves.
Dortmund are in the horrifying position of being on something of a hot streak – only Bremen’s five consecutive Bundesliga wins is better than their two – and yet having only just climbed out of the relegation zone. Their season would be long over were it not for the fact that their relegation battle is all too real, and yet their form in a difficult group with Arsenal, Fenerbahce and Anderlecht was unexpectedly good. The Champions League represents the best chance of any glory in a season they will hope to forget. Continue reading →
Joe Hall argues the case for Robert Lewandowski as the winner of the Ballon d’Or 2013…
He doesn’t have one tenth of the talent Lionel Messi does. He will never match the phenomenal force of Cristiano Ronaldo. And even when he eventually joins Bayern Munich, he could well play second fiddle to Franck Ribery. Having said all that, Robert Lewandowski should have won the 2013 Ballon d’Or.
Before you roll your eyes, I’m not a jumped-up Bundesliga “expert” with a BT Sport subscription who could tell you how the intricacies of Lewandowski’s games are more tactically flexible, his pressing more effective than the three nominees, or anything like that.
It’s just that if you do insist on giving out an individual award in a team sport, it’s not very interesting simply to ask “who is the best?!”. Laboriously working over the stats to try and come to some sort of scientific conclusion is a fruitless task; subjectivity will always be present. Some people are Messi people and some are Ronaldo people, just as some prefer Oasis and others Blur. Some don’t care.
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 →
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 →
Greg Johnson and James Dutton imagine the scenes in the ITV studios as they discover Borussia Dortmund during tomorrow night’s Champions League semi final second leg against Real Madrid…
Adrian Chiles: “Vorsprung durch football! And welcome to ITV for Real Madrid versus Borussia Dortmund, in what promises to be a night to remember with one of the all-time classic match ups of the Champions League.
“After last week’s heroics, it looks like the Germans will be invading London in May, but will they be saving their Blitzkreig for Wembley? As always I’m joined by Roy Keane, Lee Dixon and Gareth Southgate, and I think it’s fair to say gang, that this wasn’t the situation we were expecting, or prepared for…” Continue reading →
It’s the football transfer that has shocked the world. Paddy Spicer Ward laments the departure of Mario Götze to FC Hollywood…
I have become somewhat disillusioned by the world of modern football. I am referring to the announcement that Mario Götze is to leave Borussia Dortmund this summer and join Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich.
The move by Munich to trigger Götze’s minimum fee release clause of €37m will make him the most expensive German footballer ever. I am however really trying to find a logical reason for Götze to want to leave Dortmund, that isn’t motivated my money. I can’t find one, and this has started to trouble me. Continue reading →