But how can this efficiency be explained? We have to go back a few years, more precisely to 2005. At the time, the BVB was in great financial difficulty. The club barely avoided bankruptcy and was forced to rethink its economic model to survive. Saved by various loans (including help from the great rival, Bayern Munich), the Borussia escaped relegation to the 3rd division. From that moment, the Borussen turn almost exclusively to youth.
Back in the foreground, Dortmund won the championship for two consecutive seasons, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. Titles that are explained by an identity that begins to pay. Two of the heroes of this back-to-back name themselves Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowki, landed in the summer of 2010 in the Ruhr area. The Japanese, then completely unknown to the general public, disembarked free of charge from Cerezo Osaka. The Pole is already a serial goal scorer from Lech Poznan in Poland and is bought for five million euros. A success which is also explained by a certain Jürgen Klopp, arrived in 2008 from Mainz and is starting to make a name for itself.
The rest of the history of Borussia continues to follow the path of youth. In the 2007-2008 season, the average age of recruits was just over 27. The following year, he is 23.5 years old, and has fluctuated in recent years between 22 and 23 years. The club thus bought very young and sold much more expensive players like Gündogan (bought 5.5 million, sold 27), Aubameyang (13 million, sold 64), Pulisic (250,000, resold 64 million), Dembele (15 million, sold 105 million) and Weigl (5 million, sold 20).
Height of beautiful capital gains on players bought very young, Dortmund even manages to make profits on players bought a few years after being sold by the club. Hummels arrived for 4.5 million from Bayern Munich and was sold a few years later for 35 million to the Bavarian ogre, before being repatriated to Dortmund in 2019 for 30 million. Götze, formed at the club had been sold for 37 million to Bayern in 2013, before being bought in 2016 for 22 million. Only downside, the departure of Robert Lewandowski. The Pole, arrived at the end of the contract in Dortmund had spun free in the ranks of Bayern Munich.
But the current workforce is still full of young talents who have arrived for a few million. The English nugget, Jadon Sancho had arrived from Manchester City in 2017 for nine million when he was only 17 years old and was stuck in the hierarchy on the side of the Citizens. The Portuguese international Raphaël Guerreiro arrived in 2016 from Lorient for twelve million, Dan-Axel Zagadou arrived free following the end of his contract with PSG in 2017, Manuel Akanji was bought 21.5 million in Basel in 2018. And more recently, Thorgan Hazard landed from Borussia Mönchengladbach for 25 million, just like Julian Brandt, who arrives from Bayer Leverkusen for the same amount.
The only recent exception to these mercatos under the sign of youth is our compatriot Axel Witsel, who was 29 years old when he arrived at the Schwarz-Gelben, le all for 20 million euros. The other recent exception, this one in terms of added value, is Alexander Isak arrived in 2017 at 17 from AIK for 8.6 million, which was sold in 2019 for 6.5 million to Real Sociedad. The antithesis of business model du Borussia is finally… his captain. Arriving in 2012 from Borussia Mönchengladbach, Marco Reus never left the yellow and black ship and wore the jersey 266 times Borussen. Example of loyalty therefore.
But ultimately, who is behind the devilishly effective recruitment of the BVB? At the top of the hierarchy, an elder of the house, captain of Schwarz-Gelben, Michael Zorc. The German has held the position of sports director since his retirement in 1998 and dictates the direction to follow. Markus Pilawa, scout at the club since 2012, became the director of recruitment in 2017 following the departure of Sven Mislintat. Most scouts have been around the club for a long time and know their role to perfection. In order to deepen their skills in the English championship, they recruited during the 2017-2018 season the brothers Frank (Benjamin and Sebastian), coming from Crystal Palace and Liverpool.
The identity of the BVB could however have been endangered. In 2017, Sven Mislintat, the director of recruitment, renowned for being the thinking head of the Borussia model, left the club to join Arsenal. But the identity of Borussia is not just one man. The proof is that the German will only stay with the Gunners for fourteen months. He will bring back to London, Aubameyang, Torreira and Guendouzi but his differences of view with the London leaders will not allow him to put his ideas in place.
Another concern that would arise in any springboard club is the danger of lack of player involvement. But in Dortmund, the question does not even arise because Borussia is a club apart. With its yellow wall and its unusual atmosphere, the BVB is a different club with an atmosphere that pushes players to give their best at all times. Despite everything, since its two titles in 2011 and 2012, Borussia has never won the championship again, and often failed in the final. Four times runner-up in the Bundesliga (2013, 2014, 2016 and 2019), three times unhappy finalist in the Cup (2014, 2015 and 2016) and finalist in the Champions League in 2013, the BVB has only two cups to its name ( 2012 and 2017) and three Supercup (2013, 2014 and 2019).
Finally, thehe BVB’s greatest asset when negotiating with young players is undoubtedly the playing time granted to them. And the playing time is not limited to the first rounds of the German cup against teams from the 3rd division. No, Borussia trusts its young people regardless of the opponent, and does not hesitate to launch them during major events. Pulisic, Reyna and Sancho all three started at age 17.
Landed for 19 million from Salzburg this winter at the age of 19, Haaland is therefore the new nugget of Borussia. With his services, he already almost acts as an indisputable holder. We can therefore already wonder who will be the next find of Borussia. And from the age of 17, Giovanni Reyna in all wonder, the height of an assist Tuesday against PSG, the American is slowly starting to be talked about.