With one foot already in the finals, Dortmund have to capitalize their chance of adding to their solitary Champions League triumph, with an expected exodus in summer...Borussia Dortmund are the 31st ranked team in Europe, if the UEFA Rankings/co-efficients are to be believed. In the rankings they are behind the likes of Braga, PSV and even Metalist Kharkiv. In the group stage draw too of this year's Champions League, they were chosen as the bottom seeded team and now they are almost on the brink of making it to Wembley for the Grand Finale. Only ninety minutes at the Bernabeu stand between them and a final chance at glory.
With Bayern Munich outclassing the outgoing German champions in both league and cup, Dortmund have fallen from grace that saw them going unbeaten against traditional power, Bayern Munich and also usurping the crown of the best team in Deutschland for two consecutive seasons. Although Munich have managed to successfully retrieve what they believe is theirs and that too quite emphatically this season, Dortmund have put their domestic dilemmas behind them and have come out all guns blazing in the Champions League this season culminating in the dramatic 4-1 humiliation of the mighty Real Madrid at the Signal Iduna Park.
However in all probability just as Bayern have put a spanner to Dortmund's dominance atleast domestically, their unexpected run in the Champions League is set to be one off, primarily due to the mass exodus of some of their biggest superstars next season, rumoured or otherwise.
The spine of this Dortmund team is built around the youthful attacking trio of Mario Gotze(20), Robert Lewandowski (23) and Marco Reus (24). With Mario Gotze having already elected to join rivals, Bayern Munich next season, and Lewandowski's agent making it clear that no matter which club he moves to, it is sure that he will not be at Dortmund next season, it leaves us with only Reus out of the terrific trio.
While plans are indeed in motion as how to best replace the departing talent, it is next to impossible to replicate the telepathic understanding and the moments of brilliance, that these three regularly linked up to produce. The Dortmund General Manager, Hans Joachim Watzke did accept that he is trying his best to keep Lewandowski at the club, especially after his four goal blitz against the nine time European Champions, after accepting defeat in trying to keep Gotze, as Bayern came calling.
Moving on, these two might not be the only positions that are raided by the opposition in the summer. As things stand, Dortmund's often impenetrable and usually solid centre-back pairing might take a major hit in the form of German international, Mats Hummels being picked up with Spanish giants, FC Barcelona being the fore runners, after a season of defensive humiliation, most recently against Bayern Munich.
A ball playing central defender, in the mould of the illustrious Franz Beckenbauer, Hummels fits the bill of Dortmund's playing style perfectly as he has great feet and loves to stride forward out of defense. This does not mean that his defensive traits are lacking in any way as combined with a brilliant positional sense, his anticipation is of the highest order, and thus you won't see him getting involved in a flashy last ditch challenge.
With backup centre-back Felipe Santana already set to leave in the summer, the loss of Hummels will be a void too difficult to fill for Jurgen Klopp, leaving only Neven Subotic as a relic from their air tight partnership.
Leave alone Bayern Munich next season, who are indeed building an invincible super squad with almost two world class players in every position, coupled with the signing of Pep Guardiola as trainer, most teams in Europe are looking to strengthen especially keeping in mind the lopsided nature of most European leagues this season.
In that context, not only will Dortmund's chances be severely restricted domestically due to Bayern Munich's severe strengthening of personnel, but their own attrition of manpower might lead to them needing a few more years before they are able to bring back their attracting brand of football coupled with the most important thing, winning.
So they need to make the most of this chance and hope to win the Champions League title at Wembley.
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