When football supporters begin to ascertain the success or failure of each club in the transfer window next month, Borussia Dortmund’s may be amongst the hardest in Europe. Rarely do die Schwarzgelben carry out overhauls in such a manner, with four exits and eight arrivals this summer. Mathematically, Dortmund should be deemed successful, however the 2012 Bundesliga winners have not just lost players with astute technical ability, but also rather conspicuous personas.
Mats Hummels was undoubtedly the general of Dortmund’s rearguard; a commanding and prominent presence alongside the sturdy Sokratis Papastathopoulos. An inconsistent and often feeble Marc Bartra barely qualifies – despite his modest transfer fee of €38 million – to be categorised as an adequate replacement for the Germany international who has made the all too familiar switch from Dortmund to Bayern Munich.
Two players who have moved in the opposite direction are former midfielder Mario Götze and Sebastian Rode, both who endured limited playing time at the Allianz Arena.
Götze may have lost friends since he left the Signal Iduna Park, but Dortmund will be hoping he can rediscover the undoubted quality he possesses which attracted Bayern’s interest back in 2013.
Rode enjoyed a stellar campaign with Eintracht Frankfurt before signing for the German champions in 2014. His and fellow newcomer Mikel Merino’s energy and ability to effectively shield the defence will be invaluable qualities to a side that have attempted to replace Manchester City’s İlkay Gündoğan, whose undoubted upward trajectory has been halted by injuries over the past few seasons.
In addition to Götze, Dortmund have made some stellar signings in the attacking department which has strengthened their options.
Emre Mor may not be the such as notorious as Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Jakub Błaszczykowski, but he brings similar qualities to the recently departed Armenian, and at just €7m, Mor has a lot to offer. Diminutive and possessed with outstanding technical ability, he has the power and pace to become Dortmund’s next star.
Fellow youngster Ousmane Dembélé may also capture the imagination of the Dortmund faithful. The 19-year-old only broke into the Rennes first team last November, but still managed 12 goals in 26 league games before his move to the Westfalenstadion. With the pace brought by Mor and Dembélé, in addition to that of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marco Reus, it may just aid their title charge.
André Schürrle – who has failed to settle at club level since his spell at Bayer Leverkusen – and Raphaël Guerreiro will similarly provide options on the left, with Reus’ recent injury record making for grim reading. However, whether Dortmund’s attacking gains are commensurate to their defensive losses is still in doubt.
Joachim Löw is arguably the biggest benefactor of Hummels’ transfer back to the Allianz Arena, but Thomas Tuchel is by contrast the biggest loser. Neven Subotić has struggled for form and fitness ever since Sokratis’ emergence, the latter partly the reason a potential move to newly promoted Middlesbrough stalled, and hence cannot be relied upon. Without wanting to drum the beats of old-fashioned football discourse, Bayern have reinforced their back line at the expense of their bitter rivals, which will ultimately prove to be the deciding factor as to where the Bundesliga title ends up.
Thomas Müller claimed it will be “more fun” to beat Dortmund next season in light of their spending spree, but expect Tuchel’s side to express this very emotion on the field, with an injection of youth and commensurate pace, to become an undoubted force in Germany and Europe, which, much like Jürgen Klopp’s famous side, will draw plenty of attention.