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 →
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 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 →
In defence of the Alan’s and their punditry, The False Nine debutant, Elko Born, tackles the myth of the football manager…
These days, whoever is tired of hearing Alan Shearer and Alan Hansen repeat chewed down, romantic cliché’s every Saturday and Sunday night needs not to worry.
It’s 2013, and only a few clicks or swipes separate the modern football fan from a vast array of carefully thought out football theory. From hypotheses about the advent of the ‘false nine’ to discussions on the merits of high pressing; on the internet, it’s all out there in abundance, nicely laid out in articles written by amateurs and professionals alike. Continue reading →
Simon Smith and David Dodds preview the mouthwatering Champions League clash between the Ukrainian and German Champions…
Is this the pick of the round? It may not have the glamour of Manchester United versus Real Madrid or the history of Barcelona versus Milan, but there is a certain something about Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund this season that can be difficult to put your finger on. The tie has a special feel to it. Both teams have flown, rather unfairly, under the radar for the last couple of seasons only to fully announce themselves in this year’s group stage by knocking out much higher profile opposition. Continue reading →