Borussia Dortmund have; by most accounts, enjoyed a prosperous 2015/16 season, reaching a domestic cup final, making the quarter-finals of a European competition, and finishing second in the Bundesliga, behind only the giants of Bayern Munich.
However, for a team that just three years ago had just played in the Champions League final and in the two seasons before that had won the Bundesliga title, Dortmund are struggling to attain their prior heights, with rivals Bayern Munich once again dominating German football.
Over the years, Dortmund have becoming something of a selling club, not being able to boast the finances of major European clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich.
The Bavarians have been a particular thorn in Dortmund’s side, having poached several of their star players over the years. This has seen BVB slide behind their red and blue rivals, after shedding stars such as Mario Götze, Robert Lewandowski and most recently Mats Hummels.
Intriguingly though, Thomas Tuchel’s side have returned the favour and have brought Bayern Munich’s Sebastien Rode to the Westfalonstadion, most likely as a replacement for Ilkay Gundogan who left for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
And after long-term centre-back Mats Hummels left the club, Dortmund have responded and bought a highly-rated centre-half from Barcelona in Marc Bartra, giving the Yellow Wall some new names to sing about.
So, what does the future now hold for this great club, and can they once again topple Bayern Munich off their perch?
In terms of their squad, what Tuchel really needs to do is not let any more of his important and most valuable players leave the club.
Marco Reus has stayed when many of his former attacking team mates have left for the Allianz, while Henrick Mkhitaryan has enjoyed a brilliant couple of campaigns in Dortmund, attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal, but as yet, has resisted the temptation to move on.
Then of course, there is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was a revelation in front of goal last season, scoring a lethal 54 goals throughout the campaign. Stretching defences with his ballistic pace and becoming increasingly reliable in front of goal, Aubameyang is key to Dortmund’s future if they are to return to the top of German football.
Despite this, of the three attacking stars currently plying their trade in a Dortmund shirt, he is going to be the hardest to keep a hold of, as he is simply the most valuable. The Gabon international has already attracted interest from Real Madrid and now Manchester City this summer, meaning Dortmund may have to accept losing another top player.
Should he leave however, Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette and Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain could prove more than worthy replacements, although the asking price for Higuain may well be out of Dortmund’s reach.
The rest of the team looks fairly well set up, with Bartra and Rode likely to both slide smoothly into Tuchel’s starting XI. Dortmund fans must be hoping that Rode and Julian Weigl can form the same formidable partnership the promising young German starlet did with Ilkay Gundogan last season.
Dortmund have never lacked passion, fight and a good team spirit, but Thomas Tuchel will be looking to Leicester City as to how to keep a team believing and will look to further install that quality in among his group of players.
The major problem for Dortmund is even if they do manage to improve, Bayern Munich seem to be able to continue to go from strength to strength after already conducting great transfer business of their own. Already; despite the window not officially being open, they have acquired exciting Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches and Mats Hummels, the latter of which will form an intimidating back-line with compatriot Jerome Boateng.
However, next term could be Borussia Dortmund’s best chance to upset the Bavarian giants.
Tuchel has now been at the club a full season, meaning he knows his players well and they are fully aware of how he wants them to play. Bayern Munich will have a new manager for the first time in three seasons in Italian Carlo Ancelotti, and it may take him time to bed in.
Dortmund are capable of winning the league, particularly if they manage to beat the odds and retain Aubameyang on their books. However, whether they do or not may just depend on the form of Bayern Munich. Unfortunately for BVB fans, if Munich play to their best, they are very unlikely to be beaten in the next few seasons with the incredible squad they have.
Nevertheless, it is clear that after bringing in two eighteen-year-olds in Ousmane Dembele and Emre Mor, Dortmund are thinking of the future as well as just the present.
Featured image: All rights reserved by luisederc
Done Deal: Swansea City sign Renato Sanches from Bayern Munich on season-long loan
In a summer transfer window full of crazy and unexpected moves, Swansea City may have just put the icing on top of the cake as the South Wales outfit have secured a deal for Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches.
Paul Clement has well and truly proved the old cliché ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ and utilised his contacts from his time as the German side’s assistant coach to push a deal through.
Who is Renato Sanches?
The Portuguese midfielder originally made a name for himself coming through the Benfica youth system as child, being signed up in 2006, and since then he moved from Benfica ‘B’ to the first-team.
During his solitary season playing in Portugal he quickly became a key member of their starting eleven, featuring six times in the Champions League, and he alerted the attention of Europe’s elite.
But it was Bayern Munich who secured a lucrative deal for Sanches last summer, setting the Bundesliga side back £27.5 million, and it was thought that he would be the next big young midfielder.
It hasn’t quite worked out like that in the past 12 months though, starting just four league matches all season, and a spell in the Premier League may be what’s needed for him to rejuvenate his career.
What is the deal?
The two sides have come to an agreement – as reported on Swansea’s official website – that sees Sanches arriving on a season-long loan at the Liberty Stadium, completing the necessary paperwork yesterday.
Where will he fit in at the Liberty?
With talisman Gyfli Sigurdsson leaving in a £45 million move to Everton, there’s a distinct lack of attacking prowess in the Swansea City midfield and this is where Sanches is worth his weight in gold.
He is a stereotypical box-to-box midfielder, having excellent technical ability and skills when in possession of the ball and always loking to use his power try drive forward and influence attacks.
And alongside that boss Clement knows that he’ll bring his endless work-rate to the Swans, adding much-needed defensive steel to a somewhat limp current side with his natural tough-tackling play.
How Twitter reacted to Swansea City signing Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches on loan
Swansea City have confirmed the arrival of Renato Sanches on a loan deal from Bayern Munich. Sky Sports report that the Swans will pay a loan fee in excess of £2 million to take the midfielder to the Liberty Stadium for a year. This is a remarkable deal by the club and underlines the contacts that manager Paul Clement has in the game.
The Swansea manager will have worked with the 20-year-old for a short period last season at the Allianz Arena before he took the job in the Premier League. He worked at Bayern Munich as the assistant to Carlo Ancelotti and the Italian has now done his close friend a favour by letting him have one of the most exciting young midfielders on loan for a season.
Bayern Munich want the midfielder to gain regular first-team football as he has now reached a key stage in his development. It was a frustrating first season in the Bundesliga for Sanches and he now gets the opportunity to test himself in another league. The Premier League will suit his physicality and energy in the middle of the park. It won’t have been in his plans to go on loan to a club like Swansea, but he will relish the opportunity to play regularly.
It is thought that Sanches was keen to move to Swansea over other clubs, due to his existing relationship with Clement. He joined Bayern Munich last summer for a fee of £28 million and that shows the standing he has in the European game. It is a huge coup for Swansea and one that will excite the supporters.
Last summer, Sanches was named the Young Player of the Tournament at Euro 2016 as he helped Portugal to win the competition. He showed a maturity beyond his years and established himself as one of the best young midfielders in the game. The last year hasn’t gone as well as he would have hoped, but he now has the opportunity to further his development in England.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the news:
— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) August 31, 2017
Reports that Renato Sanches to Swansea on loan is a done deal.
It's not what you know, it's who you know. pic.twitter.com/GtXA7gBEUg
— Coral (@Coral) August 30, 2017
Renato Sanches is on the verge of completing a loan move to Swansea! pic.twitter.com/e0LHKJXPmf
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) August 30, 2017
When you hear Renato Sanches is close to joining Swansea on loan… pic.twitter.com/5R3bQrYyjI
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) August 30, 2017
Swansea fans were understandably excited by the signing:
Now it's official I can start to celebrate Sanches signing! What a coup! Insane signing, great work by the club! Can't wait to see him play.
— Guto Llewelyn (@GutoLlewelyn) August 31, 2017
Renato Sanches signing for Swansea. https://t.co/so76vFNB32
— Bobby (@BobbyGardiner) August 31, 2017
Paul Clement at the announcement if we do sign Renato Sanches pic.twitter.com/wn0Mf11syj
— Jack Evans (@Jevski7) August 30, 2017
Supporters of other clubs were jealous of the signing:
For once I'm jealous of other clubs transfers, Jese and Renato Sanches in particular #SaintsFC
— Nat Harvey (@Nat_sfc_harvey) August 31, 2017
Paying €8.5m for a one year loan is insane but I'm still very jealous of Swansea if they get Renato Sanches
— Reubdolph Pinder?? (@MarcoReubs) August 31, 2017
God I wish West Ham were going for Renato Sanches, especially if no Carvalho deal!
— Sam Hunt ? (@SHunt_92) August 30, 2017
— Moz (@Pardiola_) August 30, 2017
Chelsea look to Bayern Munich for latest wing-back target – Is a move likely?
As Chelsea prepare for a potentially busy deadline day, German newspaper Bild suggest that one potential arrival could be Bayern Munich full-back Rafinha.
What would Rafinha bring to Stamford Bridge?
One thing that the 31-year-old can offer in abundance is experience. As a winner of the Bundesliga and Champions League with Bayern Munich, he could help the more inexperienced members of Chelsea’s squad as they return to Europe’s elite competition this season.
He also offers versatility. It is most likely that Rafinha will take up a wing-back role if he does move to Stamford Bridge, but Antonio Conte will be keen on the fact that he can play on either flank. He can also play as a central defender if required, and that could encourage Chelsea to make a move for him.
The Brazilian also shares a number of attributes with both Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses. In particular, his impressive range of passing and crossing will appeal and he is a clear threat when bombing down the flank on the attack.
Is a move likely?
Bayern are hugely reluctant to sell their man as Carlo Ancelotti feels that he is a reliable second choice right-back. With Philip Lahm having retired, he has also picked up the reigns as the experienced veteran in the Bayern defence, which carries huge importance on and off the field.
However, it’s not yet clear if the Brazilian is content with such a role. Having played just 23 minutes so far this season, he may be keen to move abroad and have a go at the Premier League as, at his age, it could be his last opportunity to do so.
Chelsea could well pursue a move for him. It’s clear that wing-back is one of their top priorities this summer as they look to add cover and competition for Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses. With only 10 months left on his contract at the Allianz Arena, they could be in a strong negotiating position.
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