Friday, 6 May 2011

Borussia Dortmund: Staying Together For The Sake Of The Kids

There is something about the break-up of a brilliant band that epitomises tragedy. The greatest music is the stuff The Beatles never got to play as tensions, creative differences and Yoko Ono all did their bit to tear the Fab Four apart. Just as Fleetwood Mac were being ripped apart by the embittered ending of various relationships in the band they came up with “Rumours”. There is something in the realisation that whatever created that musical magic has passed away and isn’t coming back. The phenomenon also exists in football when the great teams drift apart and enter legend or nowadays Sky+. The break-up of the 1970’s Ajax team still hurts. The eternal “What Ifs” endlessly circle the brain as to what they could have achieved had they stayed together. How many more European Cups could Cruyff and co have delivered?

A 2-0 victory over Nurnburg put the seal on a fantastic season German side Borussia Dortmund as the yellow and black terrors lifted the Bundesliga trophy and they can now sit back to reflect on a wonderful campaign as well as look forward to a jaunt out in the Champions League next season. Except nobody around the Signal Iduna Park will be relaxed about anything at all because keeping this young team together is going to be a minor miracle. Already left-footed midfielder Nuri Sahin has been poached by Real Madrid, the news broken in Marca just before the semi-final second leg against Barcelona.

It’s hardly as bad as the break-up of The Beatles or that Ajax side but the loss of Sahin to Madrid feels like the first departure that might just spark a mass exodus. Dortmund have been one of the most entertaining and joyful teams to watch this season as their energetic youngsters have ripped through teams like a cyclone. The likes of Mat Hummels, Neven Subotic, Mario Gotze and Shinji Kagawa have set the Bundesliga alight under coach Jurgen Klopp, who is already being linked with moves to some of Europe’s biggest clubs. With Sahin already on the move and many, many clubs sniffing around Gotze and Kagawa the challenge of the summer is to retain rather than reinforce for Dortmund.

When marriages turn sour one of the most oft repeated clich├ęs is that the couple try to stay together for the sake of the kids. That it would be better to pretend there are no problems in order to spare the emotions of the little ones. For the sake of the Dortmund fans lets hope that the kids stay together in this instance. After such a wonderful, exhilarating season the fans deserve one season of Champions League football as Klopp and his youthful charges take on Europe’s elite. It would be cruel in the extreme if this Dortmund side were to split without at least having one chance to answer the “What if” of how well they could do in Europe’s premier competition as a group. Buoyed by success and powered by fearlessness who knows how far this team could go if they are allowed at least one try as a group.

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