History has proven that the Bundesliga has always been Bayern Munich and another team. From the Borussia Mönchengladbach of Günter Netzer, to the Hamburg of Felix Magath and Horst Hrubesch-Das Kopfball-Ungeheuer- The Header Beast and the Dortmund of Riedle and Möller. These sides had given Bayern a very tough time, and also excelled in Europe.
It wasn’t until 2010/11 that another side emulated Borussia Mönchengladbach(69-77), Hamburg (78-83) and Dortmund (94-97). A side had emerged that began to outplay and match Bayern, not for one season, not for two seasons, but for three and counting. Even though they have lost players, they are still competing at the highest level.
In 2011 Klopp realised that preventing Nuri Sahin from moving was too much. The Turk was destined to move on after a spectacular season with Die Schwarzgelben. After it was confirmed that the midfielder will be heading to the Spanish capital, Klopp pulled off one of the transfers of the season.
Nürnberg midfielder İlkay Gündoğan was signed as the potential Sahin replacement. Few can deny Gündoğan’s ability. His nonchalant nature in the middle of the park was one of the main reasons why Dortmund reached the Champions League Final.
In that same year, Paraguayan talisman Lucas Barrios had been an integral part of the Bundesliga-winning side, bagging 16 goals in the league. It was at that stage that Klopp took the risk. Barrios, who had attracted sides like Chelsea, was demoted to the bench. His replacement: A Pole by the name of Robert Lewandowski.
After that historic double winning season in 11/12, Shinji Kagawa was sold to Manchester United for a price around £17m. When you bear in mind that he was bought from Cerezo Osaka (a club plying its trade in the 2nd tier of Japanese football) for a price of €350k, it makes it more intriguing.
Despite being unable to prevent Kagawa’s departure, Klopp pulled off a masterstroke. A Dortmund fan since childhood, Borussia Mönchengladbach star Marco Reus was recruited for €17.1m.
23rd April 2013, twenty-four hours before a crucial Champions League semi-final Mario Götze’s departure to Bayern Munich was confirmed. The transfer led Dortmund fans to raise banners that read ‘The pursuit of money shows how much heart one truly has’. Questions like ‘Is the Dortmund renaissance over?’ were beginning to be asked.
Klopp did not stop and weep about the loss of one of his star players, tying up Shakhtar man Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Saint-Étienne's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Both signings are proving to be something special. The latter has an average rating (WhoScored.com) of 7.21, while the former has a rating of 7.53.
To put these stats into perspective, it's Robben’s fifth season in the Bundesliga and he has an average rating of 7.93! These stats show us that Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang are adapting really well.
It will not be a surprise if Dortmund pull off another masterstroke in January. Özil's claim that they are ‘better than ever’ and Fredi Bobic's (Stuttgart's sporting director) claim that they 'are stronger without Götze' is not coincidental.
Die Schwarzgelben’s magic trio of Klopp, Watzke, and Zorc has done it time and time again. In addition to the fact that there hasn't been a drastic change in the team’s back-bone after their memorable 12/13 season. With the exception of Götze, all the other important Dortmund players (Błaszczykowski, Reus, Subotić, Hummels etc..) remained at the club.
There are claims that Gündoğan is set to leave Dortmund, Lewandowski is set to leave as well. Where will they go, when will they go? In Dortmund's case it doesn't matter, they have proved that they always have a solution to the given problem.
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