'Borussia Dortmund open to playing pre-season matches in Singapore,' says club ambassador Karl-Heinz Riedle

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The former Germany striker felt that the Die Borussen are likely to play pre-season games in Southeast Asia in the near future...

As a player, Karl-Heinz Riedle terrorised defences with his exceptional aerial ability and a highlight of his career was the performance of a lifetime against Juventus in the 1997 Champions League final - where he scored two goals.

Now back at the club where he lifted the European Cup, the 54-year-old has taken on a different role for Borussia Dortmund as he looks to continue helping the German giants build a strong profile in Asia. Goal caught up with the former forward for an interview where he talked about Dortmund and their future plans in the region.

While most European clubs have just only started to build their presence in Asia, Dortmund has been doing it for a long time while also continuing to support local Asian teams through numerous initiatives.

"I think it's important to support local clubs here in Asia and in the four to five years I have been doing this ambassador (role) for Dortmund, it was quite small. But now it has grown as we get the fans on board."

karl heinz

Meanwhile, in the BundesligaBayern Munich continues to stamp their authority. However, ‎Die Borussen have an exciting young team which can challenge Munich this season.

"We (Dortmund) started very well in the first game, so everybody was excited but then we lost against Union Berlin.

"It will be a hard season and we really have a strong team but Bayern Munich and (RB) Leipzig also have strong teams. Hopefully, it will be a battle until the end of the season. Our (Dortmund) team needs to find the equilibrium to get better results from smaller games."

And although Dortmund may have exciting young prospects such as Jadon Sancho, the sale of Christian Pulisic shows how difficult it is to retain talented footballers. 

"We have to be honest and clear, you need to have a team like Bayern (Munich) or Liverpool in order to compete and win titles. Or if you are able to pay lots of money for a player, then you can be sure you can hold the players.

"At the moment we are on a good path but definitely it will be very difficult when a huge club comes along and offers a big amount of money, but players like Sancho, are still at a developmental stage. I am confident we are capable of holding on to him at least for another year because he is a leading star here."

When asked about Asian players' potential to succeed in Europe, he said, "Not only in the Bundesliga, to succeed all over the world you need to have the right focus. Especially Japanese players, they have a strong mentality in whichever league they play. Hopefully, we can see more Asian players all over Europe because they have talent."

When speaking about Dortmund, it's hard not to mention how the club has been a ground for player development in recent years.

"We are not a club only for development, we buy young players from other teams too. We also produce players from our academies. But we also don't want to be just a club famous for producing players, we want to win something.

"We need to find a good balance between developing players and keeping hold of players, to win. Our team this season has good players, so we don't just sell our players."

Subsequently, if there were ever doubts about Dortmund not being competitive, their match against Barcelona in the Champions League dispelled it. And Riedle is just as confident about them advancing out from the group.

"If you see the game against Barcelona, Dortmund was the better team. We (Dortmund) didn't see a big difference between us and Barcelona.

"Maybe if we play in Barcelona, it is a different game but at the end of the day, we see with our philosophy and our team that we are on the stage with these teams. To win titles you need to have an extra punch if you want to survive in this group.

"It will be tough in Milan or Barcelona. Next, we have Slavia Praha. It will be difficult but we can succeed."

Speaking about the club's plans in Asia, he explained, "We have 600,000 fans in Indonesia and the market for us to build more relationships with partners, clubs and fans are very important. We can only build all these if you are successful.

"The first thing is to be successful and when Dortmund had a bad spell in the past few years, people weren't that interested. But now it's better and there is a stronger interest.

"We will definitely have our pre-season games here in Southeast Asia. It could be Malaysia, Indonesia or Singapore."

 

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