Borussia Dortmund have the potential to become the best team in the Bundesliga.
No, that wasn’t a typo, though I’m sure you’re wondering why anyone would write that about about a team who barely finished 5th last year. The answer is quite simple, their collection of young talent rivals those of Premier League giants Manchester United and Arsenal. However, before we get into all that, lets take a look at the team itself.
For those of you who aren’t devoted followers of the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund are one of the more popular teams, having won 6 league titles and the Champions League in 1997. Arsenal fans might know the team as the previous owners of Tomáš Rosický, who – judging by the number of games he’s played – still feels like a new signing to some.
Regardless, the team from Dortmund has finished inside the top 10 on a steady basis during the last decade, always being a tough opponent along the way.
Now this isn’t the only time Borussia had a lot of talent. During the early to mid 2000’s, the likes of Rosický, David Odonkor and Christoph Metzelder were supposed to drive the club to the top of the Bundesliga, but financial problems forced Rosický and Odonkor to be sold, and Metzelder left on a free transfer.
Nowadays, the club is in a decent financial situation and the inflow of talent has truly been remarkable. I know its turning redundant for me to state that, so lets preview the players:
To US national team fans, he is known as the guy who turned down the national team offer after appearing on various youth levels, however Subotić is also one of the best young defenders in the Bundesliga. He can mark anyone, and has been a consistent performer for both Dortmund and Serbia as of late, drawing comparisons to fellow Serb Nemanja Vidić.
Subotić’s partner in defense, Hummels is another quality young center back. A product of the Bayern Munich youth academy, he has been developing quite nicely at Dortmund, and although a little unfortunate with injuries, is still young enough (21) to improve further. A great tackler, Hummels also scores a respectable ratio of goals (5 in his last 30 appearances for Dortmund), giving the team another dangerous option on set pieces.
Şahin is a truly a player whose nickname should be “record breaker”, as he holds the records for the youngest player and scorer in the Bundesliga as well as for Turkey’s national team. As a midfielder, he is a Cesc Fàbregas type, creative with good passing ability (he has also been scoring a tad more as of late).
Ironically, Şahin is being touted as a replacement for Fàbregas, should >the Spaniard decide to leave the Gunners.
A very raw talent, as he just moved from the Japanese J. League, Kagawa nevertheless has the potential to become the next Keisuke Honda. A great dribbler and finisher, his skills mirror that of Honda, and saw him score an incredible 55 goals in 125 league games while playing in the J. League. His playing time might be limited in the beginning but the ability is there to become one of the best attacking midfielders in Germany.
Who? Little talked about Mario Götze could arguably be one of the best 18-year-old players in the world. Winner of the 2009 U-17 European Championship with Germany, he has only appeared 5 times for Dortmund, but truly has the ability to create magic on the pitch. His game is very similar to that of Mesut Özil, with great dribbling and timed passing.
Known as the “debut scorer” for well his ability to score on his debut matches, Lewandowski has been a prolific scorer everywhere he went (32 goals in 58 league appearances for his last club) and has the finishing ability to do so at Dortmund. With Nelson Valdez out, he should be given more playing time, and judging by some of his pre-season performances for Dortmund, could very well become a top striker.
To recap, Borussia Dortmund have up-and-coming talent in every area of the pitch, as well as a nice share of veterans such as goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and captain, midfielder Sebastian Kehl, just to name a few. Of course, right now this team mostly sounds like a Football Manager 2011 dream, but barring major injuries and transfers, the talent and coaching staff are there to take the squad to the top of the Bundesliga.