Borussia Dortmund Should be Fan Favorites to Win the Champions League

borussia dortmund

Westfalenstadion (Wikimedia Commons0

Around this time in most knockout competitions, supporters from all of the remaining clubs start making their claims for why their team deserves the trophy more than the others. But, with the massive squads and budgets at Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich, it is probably safe to say that no team currently in the Champions League semifinals deserves the winner’s crown more than Borussia Dortmund.

The pacy and vibrant side underwent financial mismanagement akin to what saw Leeds United fall from grace a decade ago in the Premier League, and in 2005 looked more likely to be relegation candidates than European title-hopefuls.

Although Dortmund managed a UCL victory in 1997, defeating defending champions Juventus 3-1 in the final, overspending came back to bite the club after failing to make European competition in 2003 and 2004. Some meticulous work by German businessmen Hans-Joachim Watzke and club president Dr Reinhard Rauball kept the club alive, but after a 13th place finish in the 2007-08 season it seemed European football would be forever out-of-reach for the Westphalian club.

Then, the following season Jurgen Klopp was hired and turned fortunes around almost immediately, with the side finishing sixth and claiming the German cup from Bayern Munich. In the proceeding campaigns, Dortmund finished fifth, then won two consecutive Bundesliga titles, and this season appearing set to finish comfortably in second. The scrappy-looking Klopp assembled a young, aggressive, and unyielding side even after losing key players such as Christoph Metzelder, Nuri Sahin, Shinji Kagawa over ensuing seasons.

This term Dortmund have again been impressive, despite losing their Bundesliga crown to an expensively assembled Bayern by double-digit figures. Their lack of success on the domestic front has been supplemented by a phenomenal Champions League campaign that saw them top the “Group of Death”, going undefeated against Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Ajax.

In the knockout rounds, they knocked out Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk by a 5-2 aggregate and then thrillingly scored two goals in extra-time of their home tie against Malaga to advance 3-2 on aggregate and meet Real, who they already defeated 2-1 and drew 2-2 in the group.

The comprehensive 4-1 victory over the Spaniards in the first-leg of the semifinal almost guarantees the side they will make the final. However, even such a joyous occasion was left partly soured by the announcement of Mario Gotze’s record £31.5m transfer to rivals Bayern for next season. Almost simultaneously, there was news from Polish striker Robert Lewandowski’s agent that he too will be moving abroad in the summer.

That would once again devastate the work that 45-year-old Klopp has been doing at the club for the past five years. And, there must be the sense around the Dortmund camp that the transfer speculation is intended to destabilize a side showing promise and the ability to break into Europe’s elite, but clearly without the funds to compete.

Therefore, if there is any team that deserves the UCL trophy this season of the four remaining, it must surely be the inventive and eye-catching Dortmund. If not for the simple joy they have brought us, at least for the reality that while Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern can always rebuild, the Westphalian club, if they do lose Lewandowski as well as some of their other regulars from this campaign, might not be here again for awhile.

1 Comment on "Borussia Dortmund Should be Fan Favorites to Win the Champions League"

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Bayern deserves it more than anybody , they have been the most consistent team all year. Bayern destroyed the Bundesliga, they have been in 2 of the last 3 finals .Bayern has the best depth and overall squad and is one of the best if not they best run club.

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