In life, there are three constants: death, taxes, and Borussia Dortmund being raided for their top stars.
While Dortmund have seen plenty of success and been able to watch a number of star players pull on their famous yellow jersey, they have always succumbed to the inevitability of even bigger sides swooping in and looting their squad.
Der BVB have, for the most part, done a solid job of holding their own when it comes to this, though. Aware of the prized assets they recruit and help to create, Dortmund often concede to the inevitable sales on the condition that they get as much money as possible, which they reinvest in more young stars for the cycle to continue.
It’s all well and good, ensuring the club runs efficiently. But for fans, it’s agonising. Glimmers of hope and the thought of perhaps just once building a mega squad that could go on a pursuit of silverware is always nipped in the bud by Bayern Munich, or someone else within Europe with lots of money to offer up.
Erling Haaland to join Manchester City
Unfortunately, that pattern doesn’t look like ending anytime soon, with Die Borussen agreeing to another major sale.
Erling Haaland will leave Dortmund to join Manchester City at the end of the season, after agreeing to activate his £51.2 million release clause.
The Norwegian showed signs of becoming one of the world’s best from a young age. And after being snapped up by Red Bull Salzburg in 2018, he was on the move again in 2020, when Dortmund pipped interest from the likes of Manchester United and Juventus to bring him to Signal Iduna Park.
Since scoring a hat-trick on his debut in Germany, Haaland has developed into one of the world’s most prolific forwards, resigning Dortmund to their fate after just two years of owning him.
He’s not the first, though, and he won’t be the last. In fact, it’s a little nauseating to think just what kind of team Dortmund would be able to field had they not have become such a notorious selling club.
That’s why we at GIVEMESPORT have decided to put our fantasy booking hats on, and craft an XI of the best players that Dortmund have sold over the years.
Goalkeeper – Mitchell Langerak
Without disrespecting Langerak, the goalkeeping department is the one area where Dortmund have managed to keep who they want.
Lanergak departed in 2015 after five years in the black and yellow having failed to become the regular first choice.
Centre back – Matthias Ginter
An incredibly capable defender at the top level, what was worse about Dortmund losing Ginter in 2017, was that it was to city rivals Borussia Monchengladbach.
By no means is it Dortmund’s biggest miss in this XI, but let’s not downplay how important an asset he could have been in previous years had he not have made the move away.
Centre back – Mats Hummels
Okay, so Hummels ultimately did end up back in Dortmund, but that was only after Bayern Munich had gotten done using him during his prime years to continue their Bundesliga domination.
Returning to Der BVB in 2019, Hummels’ best years were already behind him, crucially.
Centre back – Sokratis Papastathopoulos
Admittedly not the most glamourous name in the XI, but one that would certainly do a job in his peak.
Dortmund accepted an offer of £17.8m from Arsenal for Sokratis in 2018, which is testament to the level he was at. Vastly experienced, he was comfortably one of the best in the Bundesliga before heading to England.
Right wing-back – Christian Pulisic
We’re reaching here, sure, but Pulisic is talented enough to respond to tactical instructions and is used to how the system works after playing within it at Chelsea, so let’s go with it.
Breaking into Dortmund’s first-team aged just 17, it wasn’t going to be long before top sides caught wind of Pulisic’s talent. The American is frighteningly good. An incredible find from Dortmund; a shame they couldn’t keep hold of him.
Kevin de Bruyne scores four goals vs Wolves (Football Terrace)
Central midfield – Ilkay Gundogan
Gundogan left Dortmund in 2016 as a promising but injury-hit midfielder, with a £21m fee paid by Manchester City solid business for a player with only a year left on his contract.
Considering he has since evolved into a key piece of the puzzle, a leader and, crucially, a three-time Premier League winner, Der BVB are probably kicking themselves that they let him slip from their grasp.
Central midfield – Mario Gotze
Similarly to Hummels, Bayern Munich came calling for Gotze the moment he showed glimpses of being top class.
Die Roten snatched him away from Dortmund in 2013, and when he scored the winner in the 2014 World Cup final, Gotze looked destined for the top. He never reached it, though, and was back in Dortmund with his confidence shattered by 2016. You can only wonder how different that story would’ve been had he not left too soon.
Left wing-back – Ivan Perisic
Having excelled as a winger during his peak, Perisic has shown his longevity and overall quality by evolving into an equally as effective wing back in his later years.
Perisic left Dortmund in 2013 after falling out of favour under Jurgen Klopp. Having since won silverware with VfL Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich and Inter, losing him has proven to be a costly decision.
Right wing – Ousmane Dembele
Having starred as a teenager at Rennes, Dortmund – as ever – acted quickly to snap up one of the hottest prospects in Europe in 2016.
The Frenchman rapidly became a superstar in his maiden campaign with Die Borussen, prompting Barcelona to snap him up using a chunk of the world record fee they’d just received for Neymar in 2017. A baseline £96m fee that could rise as high as £135.5m, injuries have plagued the Frenchman, who might have benefitted from a few more seasons with Dortmund.
Striker – Erling Haaland
Dortmund knew what they were getting into the moment they signed Haaland in 2020.
While United pulled out due to not wanting to succumb to Haaland’s desire for a release clause to be inserted into his contract, Dortmund were willing to honour that request. It’s been a wild ride during his two-and-a-half seasons, where Haaland won the DFB-Pokal, but his departure was inevitable.
Left winger – Jadon Sancho
They did all they could to stave off the interest of Manchester United by commanding a fee well in excess of £100m but, eventually, Dortmund caved and sold Sancho in 2020, for just £73m.
The England international’s first season back in Manchester – and first ever on the red side – has been a slow burner, but there’s no doubt his talent will be sorely missed in Dortmund for years to come.