If Dortmund Played In The Premier League…Updated

This post was originally inspired by one of those tweets that lustily hinted that the tweeter/Gooner would gladly swap Klopp for Wenger and thereby turn Arsenal into Dortmund overnight.

Yes, if only we could sack our beloved manager and replace him with the tactical genius behind this tactics board, that the media and twitter fawnwd over, when the photo was circulated a few months ago. Finally, we had the BvB masterplan!

But alas it had a secret code of player names that no one has yet cracked. Not even the Enigma machine could tell us who Klopp was referring to when he writes the code word “Lewandowski.” And those mystical arrows that seem to urge his players to “run around a bit.”

Brilliant. Fucking brilliant!

In hindsight, I think we went a bit over the top at the time.

Klopp Board

Look, I like Klopp and Dortmund as much as the next man, but you’re all starting to get on my tits. And so I bring you…


If Dortmund played in the Premier League…they would have to recruit and develop local talent ie English talent (the very definition of an oxymoron.) Instead, today they shop in the German, Turkish, Polish and Eastern European pools ie their satellite countries, for super-cheap talents.

Today, the big majority of Dortmund’s talent does NOT come through their own Academy. They nick most of it from everyone else’s Academy.

Their great talent development is the result of a National initiative that each club is required to contribute to by the central football association. And so they can thank the fact that their National organization “works” with the clubs and thereby forces the Schalke’s of their league to develop talent for Dortmund and Bayern to steal. National coaching resources dwarf those in the UK. And the attitude of their youths to training and acquiring technical skills is renowned throughout Europe and matched only in Spain, perhaps.

For comparison purposes, ponder if you will that England can’t find 11 quality footballers between the ages of 17 and 35 to field a competitive International XI. There is absolutely nothing Dortmund could do to develop that talent in England because they never created the raw material, the national coaching or the system from which they benefit in the BL. They just milked it.

No, instead they would join us in the chase for the next Gareth Barry or Andy Carroll or Stewart Downing or James Milner. (All England Internationals, may I remind you. Stewart Downing has 35 caps. Let that sink in for a moment. James Milner has 38 caps. How many would they get in the current German NT?)

If Dortmund played in the Premier League, any talent they did acquire or develop would be snaffled up by United, City and Chelsea every year so that their 2 best budding stars would be nabbed just before they reached their peak.

If Dortmund played in the Premier League, they would have to pay their young talents a British Premium instead of enjoying the German discount. You can just go ahead and double their wages. Now.

If Dortmund played in the Premier League, they would at best be the 4th most attractive destination for talent reaching its peak, rather than one of the top two destinations in the Bundesliga.

If Dortmund played in the Premier League, their remaining squad, ravaged by the annual cherry-picking of United, CFC and City, would have to attempt to climb over those 3 teams who are intent on, and capable of, spending whatever it takes to top the league each year against each other. Now, to be fair, 1 of the 3 mega clubs might have an off year every few years. Maybe even 2 of them could have an off year in the same season, say, every 6 or 7 years or so. But Dortmund would have to get its timing spot on to have an “on year” in the exact year that all 3 mega rich clubs who were stripping them of their top players each year had a triple “off year.” It would be an eclipse made, not of 2 planets, but 3. Quite rare. I hope they happen to look up at the sky at just the right moment. “Ooops. Sorry it’s disappeared. See you in another 10 years time.” PS: Better not lose any players in the summer leading into that “Eclipse” season.

With only 1 mega club in their league last season, they got beaten by 25 points. But that was still fine as their CL place wasn’t remotely challenged by the rest.

If Dortmund played in the Premier League, they would have to avoid falling out of the Top 4 every and ANY year, despite the disruption of having any breakout talent stolen each summer, or they would fall another 35m behind the 3 mega clubs, while the following year they would have only the same resources as Spurs, Everton and Liverpool, who they then would have to fight for that 4th spot while recruiting from the exact same talent(less) pool while paying exorbitant British Player Premiums.

Talking of talent, it’s a national thing, not a Dortmund thing. Consider a couple of “facts:” From the Guardian…

As England fans grasp for indicators of how their team will perform at the World Cup, Digger can reveal statistics that will lead only to pessimism.

Three years ago an official report concluded that coaching is the “golden thread” leading to international success, but new Uefa data shows that there are only:
2,769  – England – coaches holding Uefa’s B, A and Pro badges, its top qualifications.
17,588 – France
23,995 – Spain
29,420 – Italy
34,970 – Germany

Between them those four nations have provided eight of the 12 finalists at all the World Cups and European Championships since 1998. England, meanwhile, have not appeared in a tournament final in 44 years.

There are 2.25 million players in England and only one Uefa-qualified coach for every 812 people playing the game. Spain, the World Cup favourites, have 408,134 players, giving a ratio of 1:17. In Italy, the world champions, the ratio is 1:48, in France it is 1:96, Germany 1:150 and even Greece, the Euro 2004 winners, have only 180,000 registered players for their 1,100 coaches, a ratio of 1:135.
1:812 England
1:150 Germany
1:135 Greece
1:96 France
1:48 Italy

1:17 Spain

If  Dortmund played in the Premier League, they would remember fondly their days in the Bundesliga: A simpler life, fishing in a protected lake, teeming with fat fish, where only one bigger boat could ever give them a run for their money.

Dortmund is currently in great shape, with an excellent team and coach, doing a superb job. They have made hay while the sun shines. Last year they have parlayed their domestic advantages into an excellent Champions League run. Yes, they robbed Malaga. Poor down-trodden Malaga. And yes, they got mangled in the final and seemed to have no answer against that other team who were from…the Bundesliga. (Hhmmm, interesting, that.) And these 2 teams usurped the places of those other 2 dominant teams from that other protected league which is full of abundant and cheap talent which is allied to a National drive and matching culture to develop a winning National team ie Spain.

I think I am seeing a pattern here. A relatively easy run in the home league; protection of resources; cheap abundant local talent; a “National” system and culture that supports you.

But… Dortmund IS currently in great shape, with an excellent team and coach, doing a superb job. They should inspire other clubs, like Arsenal, as to what is possible if you can acquire AND maintain your talent long enough to produce the finished article.

You see, Dortmund’s great success has been to make the most of every advantage their National League has provided them. They’ve done it very well. And good luck to them!

Yes, good luck to you, Dortmund. You are the good guys. Fight the good fight. We see ourselves in you. And we envy you.

So yay…Go Dortmund!

PS: We have faced Dortmund 4 times in the last 3 years: P4 W2 D1 L1. It is true to say they have gotten a lot stronger in recently, I must admit. But so have we. It is true to say they had a couple of players injured for this year’s 2 matches. We had more than a couple injured.

And for those who believe the myth that BvB play a squad of Dortmund-born players, and do it all through development, I give you this chart that I borrowed:

Home Grown players this season 11-12-13

PPPPPS: Our youth side has done well against their’s in recent times. This is not really a measure of anything at the full First Team/Squad level but… Just sayin’.