The CEO of Borussia Dortmund Hans-Joachim Watzke said that he believes clinching the Bundesliga title will be difficult, as things are getting harder and harder for Dortmund while on the other hand, Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg are getting richer. Amidst of player transfer speculations, Ilkay Gundogan and Mats Hummels of Borussia Dortmund have explained why they have decided to stick with their team Dortmund.
Dortmund, in 2012 won the title, however, last season, it slumped and got a seventh place, and Wolfsburg was noted to be the closest rival taking up the second position after Bayern. One thing that Watzke fears is that the Wolves has a huge financial backing. It is supported by a giant automobile maker, Volkswagen, and their growing wealth could have an impact on how the team performs.
Watzke insists that such financial backing may result in slip within the league in some years to come where Wolfsburg and Bayern will stand tall and pull away from the rest of teams thus gaining a big command over the league title. Watzke explained to Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the only club that seems to be best placed in hunting down Bayern would be Wolfsburg and not Dortmund.
Watzke supported his claims when he gave an example of how his team Dortmund and Wolfsburg celebrated after clinching the title in 2012. He said that his players even after winning the title celebrated by getting on to an open-top lorry while the Wolfsburg’s players were all riding in convertible Lamborghinis. What a controversial gesture in celebration? This was an indication of how financially placed the Wolfsburg was, and this means that it has all the competitive edge to continue advancing and hunting down Bayern.
Watzke said that this was the best way the position of the two teams could be illustrated. Nevertheless, Watzke was optimistic and expects that his club will continue to be more competitive in next seasons. He has praised Thomas Tuchel, the new coach as being an ambitious and competent manager who is always friendly.
Bayern has dominated the league title since the previous wins of Dortmund in 2011 and 2012. In the last three seasons, Bayern has been bold in its performance an indication that Dortmund may be nowhere close to winning the title any soon.
Under the new coaching of Thomas Tuchel, Hans-Joachim Watzke’s team has remained unbeaten taking up five league wins although, in recent games, they have drawn. However, Watzke does not want to admit that his team is hunting Bayern. Speaking to the German daily Bild, Watzke said that his team never saw itself as, and does not see itself as, and is not hunting Bayern.
Watzke pointed out that his team only sees itself as challengers of the clubs that finished atop them in last season. He hinted that his goal was to see the club get back to the Champions League, and so far, nothing has changed.
While Dortmund has some chances to beat Bayern, it is only in selective matches, and there is no doubt about it. And, as the season goes past three-quarter, Bayern was pulling away from Dortmund with a significant margin. German media has been using the phrase “Bayern Hunters” to tag on clubs that try to get closer to Bayern.
However, this is a tag that Dortmund isn’t ready to accept because this may not be their main mission. The term “Bayern Hunters” has even been brushed off by other teams for example, Dieter Hecking, the Wolfsburg coach and Klaus Allofs, the sports director throughout last season tried to give repeatedly a cold shoulder to that label of being called Bayern hunters. This was so even after Wolfsburg finished second, and Bayern won the German League title. Wolfsburg nevertheless won the German Cup.
Last season, Watzke’s team struggled to attain good results and this season, it seems that those struggles are fading away. Underlying statistics indicates that there is a significant improvement on the side of Dortmund. Last season suggested that there was some improvement likely to be seen within the Dortmund team, and this is what may be happening now.
When you examine things like expected goals and the estimates of quality of goal scoring chances that have been created by the Watzke’s team, there is an indication of improved performance. These statistics take into account aspects like the type of assist pass, the location of the shot, and type of attack that led to the goal scoring chances.
There has been a trend with teams that have greater chances of scoring. In the last six years, among the competitive teams competing in the top half of the leagues, Dortmund was the worst underperformer in the 2014-2015 season in terms of expected goals. When you critically examine other clubs that have recorded similar statistics and numbers, there has been a story about them. These teams have always fought back and became the top leaders in their leagues.
And, looking at evidence of history, it may be said that a big season where you see Dortmund win may be far from unprecedented. Dortmund has in the previous matches been running their opponents off and dominating the games on the pitch. The new coach of Dortmund club, Tuchel has not discarded what worked well for the team and has been adding improvements in possession attacking as well as positional play without diminishing the strength of the team. While Watzke may not admit that his team is hunting Bayern, there are clear signs that it may be a big competitor for the Bayern squad not so long from now.