In lieu of a podcast episode, the Yellowwallpod brings you a mailbag this week. It seems like an eternity since Borussia Dortmund have won the DFB-Pokal, but it’s actually not even been a full week. Still, the Black and Yellows have let go of head coach Thomas Tuchel and announced another potentially long-term injury to Marco Reus, while rumours about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are flying around. What off-season, eh?
What will the club most likely do with the € 70 million PSG will pay for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?
Assuming Aubameyang does leave — and it seems naive to think otherwise at this stage — Dortmund will likely receive a fee that should range between € 65 and € 85 million, no matter if it’s Paris Saint-Germain, a club from China or the English Premier League. How they’ll spend that money is a good question, and one that’s very difficult to answer.
The only thing we can rule out is Dortmund using all or even only most of it on one like-for-like signing. Even if one could argue the club is financially solid enough to pay, say, € 60 million for Alvaro Morata or Alexandre Lacazette, signing a superstar of that calibre would completely blow up the team’s wage structure. Even if BVB were able to beat out the competition from other clubs, the wage demands of international superstars are not compatible with the kind of organic growth Dortmund have identified as their most sustainable future strategy. In essence, BVB cannot afford superstars and keep the rest of the team happy, so they prefer developing superstars themselves.
As for the Aubameyang money, some of it will surely go to a replacement — Patrik Schick if he doesn’t go to Juventus after all, for example — and possibly another signing or two (I think they might go for a versatile player for the right wing with Lukasz Piszczek getting up there in age).
Besides the obvious, which I am curious to hear, what are your expectations for next season if Aubameyang leaves?
Oddly enough, my expectations don’t change much with or without him. Even though I don’t agree with much of anything the club leaders Hans-Joachim Watzke and Michael Zorc have said publicly very recently, they deserve enough confidence from the public and fans after years of strong work. I’m sure Dortmund will be able to score goals without Aubameyang, and letting him go could even open up some things in terms of the way the main striker is involved in the team’s general play.
The coaching decision is of far greater importance, naturally, and it could change my expectations for next season, sure. Right now, it’s the same as most years: Qualify directly to the UEFA Champions League (it’s the last year where German sides have to be in the top three of the Bundesliga or win the thing), reach the knock-out stages in the UCL and go as far as possible in the cup. Expecting more would be unreasonable, as it seems unlikely Bayern Munich will fall off a cliff.
Seeing how most thought Tuchel would only stay for the length of his contract, didn’t we realistically just move up what was bound to happen?
I think it’s fair to adopt that viewpoint, yes. One could argue that letting a coach go at the end of his contract makes finding a replacement easier — and Dortmund have seemingly failed to tie down their preferred choice in Favre. But overall, I think not many expected Tuchel’s time at the Westfalenstadion to last more than three years even before learning about the rift between him and many others in the club and even in the team.
What do you think who would be the best coach for the team and why?
And in your opinion who will get the job?
There are a number of ways to look at this question. In pure sporting terms, it’s unlikely any new coach will be an upgrade over Tuchel. Even if some fans were not particularly impressed with the job Tuchel did this past season, he met all goals, won the club’s first trophy in five years and — by and large — made Dortmund a better side than they were towards the end of Jürgen Klopp’s tenure.
Of course, by now we know with relative certainty that Tuchel was not incredibly popular with many of his players, many of whom did not want to continue working with him. In that regard, a new coach gets a clean slate and that should be helpful for the climate in Dortmund’s dressing room.
Coming back to sporting terms, it would seem a good idea to appoint a coach who can expand on the principles Tuchel has (by and large) successfully introduced during his two years. It would not make much sense to go from Tuchel to a pressing fanatic such as Roger Schmidt. The new guy should have a good understanding of possession football, while it would also be helpful if he was able to introduce more stability in the team’s defensive approach.
Lucien Favre would have been a solid choice in sporting terms, but his club OGC Nice has today confirmed he will not be allowed to leave this summer. Peter Bosz and Peter Stöger seem to be two candidates left if one believes reports in Bild and Kicker. Of those two, Bosz would make more sense and he seems more likely to be available, with Stöger under contract until 2020 at Cologne. German paper Welt has reported Dortmund are close to agreeing to terms with Bosz — then again, the club also had reportedly done so with Favre days ago.
Personally, I want to see Michael Laudrup get a chance at a big European club at some stage, but it’s unlikely Dortmund will offer him a shot. Bosz would be an intriguing choice, even though I think there’s more risk involved with him than there would be with Favre and Stöger.
I don’t find transfer rumors interesting, so which BVB player impressed you the most in the Rückrunde?
My condolences, the next two months will be annoying af for you.
I think it’s difficult to look past Marco Reus who, when healthy, puts Dortmund on a different level. Of course, he missed quite a few games in the Rückrunde. The same goes for Marc Bartra, albeit because of an entirely different set of circumstances. Bartra was playing superbly for weeks ahead of the attack on his and his team-mates’ lives and he looked good upon his return against Werder Bremen and Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB-Pokal final. Ousmane Dembele deserves a shout as well as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and I think Roman Bürki doesn’t get enough credit generally, so I want to include him in the discussion. But Reus tops the list for me.
What do you see happening with Alexander Isak next season? Loan? U23/19 again (whichever he was on this year)? Or legit backup to Auba replacement?
Isak was signed as a long-term project and he remains one. Clubs often don’t like loaning out players of this talent level since they want to remain in the driver’s seat of their development. I expect Isak to stick around, potentially see the field a bit here and there while catching up through training, training, training. It’s a pity he won’t have a full summer preparation to get up to speed with the under-19 Euros in July (who schedules these things? Ugh.).
It’s conceivable he will play some matches with the under-23, that might depend on the personnel situation for both teams — they are both likely to lose their No. 1 striker and currently don’t have a head coach.
How is Mario Götze doing? What’s the status on his health?
Dortmund have understandably not given many updates on Götze’s situation. The last public update, if I’m not overlooking anything came in March, when the club announced he responded well to treatment. Since then, Götze has made only a couple of public appearances, watching his younger brother Felix in Bayern’s under-19 Bundesliga semi-finals against Schalke 04, for example.
Germany head coach Joachim Löw recently said Götze is doing well and happy to have found the reason for his constant injury issues, for what it’s worth.
Götze did not watch the cup final in Berlin and did not take part in the festivities, which is only understandable given he would have taken most of the spotlight away from his team-mates.
By all accounts, Götze is supposed to return to the training pitch in the summer, but, in reality, we can’t say with any conviction when that will really be the case. Patience is needed for all involved.