Borussia Dortmund are bottom of the Bundesliga.
It’s the manager’s fault
When things go wrong, the first person in the firing line is usually the manager. After all, he is the one who is responsible for the team selection, the tactics employed and ultimately for player transfers in and out of the club (unless you work at Real Madrid). So it makes sense that when results are bad, fingers get pointed in the manager’s direction.
It wasn’t too long ago that Jurgen Klopp was the media darling of football. We heard about the “genius of Jurgen Klopp” and how Klopp was “drawing comparisons with Jose Mourinho” for being a master tactician. A Champions League final, two Bundesliga titles and a German Cup showed what Klopp was capable and everybody loved him. He also didn’t like being a traditional manager by wearing suits on the touchline and instead adopted the tracksuit and cap approach.
Now, however, his beloved Dortmund team languish at the foot of the Bundesliga table and the team’s supporters have had enough. Following the 0-2 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt at the weekend, the home fans whistled the players off the pitch at the end of the game and Klopp could relate to their frustration:
The coach said: “I can understand the displeasure of the fans, it is perfectly fine, but the team still tried everything.
“We wanted to improve our situation dramatically but we didn’t succeed. We will continue nevertheless. We do a lot for nothing and to break through that is a big challenge.”
Klopp has shouldered the responsibility for the team’s poor run of form, although he feels that there is an element of misfortune that has added to the team’s woes.
“I am responsible and as long as no one comes and says ‘we have someone who can do it better’, I cannot go yet.
“As long as there is no better solution then I cannot leave. The responsibility that I feel is great. If it’s just that our luck has run out and a new coach will bring back good fortune then call someone and give me a guarantee, then I will make way. But it is not easy.”
The Munich menace
Others are convinced that Dortmund’s problems can be laid at the door of Big Bad Bayern Munich. After all, first they freed Mario Gotze last season and then this season they liberated Robert Lewandowski and, if rumours are to be believed, next they will emancipate Marco Reus. Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke is under no illusions about who is to blame.
“Bayern Munich want to destroy us,” said Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke afterRobert Lewandowski became the latest of his players to agree a switch to the Allianz Arena in January.
It would seem that Bayern Munich is doing a pretty good job then.
The Japanese elephant in the room
The cause of Dortmund’s downfall is neither Jurgen Klopp or Bayern Munich.
All of Dortmund’s problems can be attributed to one man: Shinji Kagawa.
His mere presence on the bench for Manchester United was enough for the team to be drained of all motivation and energy. Alex Ferguson, being the wily manager he is, recognised the Kagawa issue and invented a knee injury shortly after the Japanese player arrived at Old Trafford. Apart from a well-taken hat trick against Norwich, Kagawa was rarely entrusted with a starting berth and played rarely for Manchester United. Without Kagawa around, the Red Devils won the Premier League in 2012/13.
David Moyes took over from Ferguson for the 2013/14 season and, in trying to stamp his authority on the United team, attempted to utilise Kagawa’s talents in the lineup. The results of that particular experiment were resoundingly clear – Kagawa’s bad feng shui infected all corners of Old Trafford and the team stumbled their way to 7th position on the log.
Louis van Gaal acted swiftly on his arrival at Manchester United and made it clear that Kagawa was free to leave the club as he had failed to buy into his “philosophy” (translation: “I value your friendship and I don’t want to ruin it #friendzone”).
Kagawa got in touch with former club Borussia Dortmund, and rejoined the German team in September 2014. It all started so well as Kagawa scored on his return and helped his team to a 3-1 victory over SC Freiberg. Since that game, Dortmund have qualified for the next round of the Champions League but their domestic form has been abysmal.
The warning signs are there already that the “bad luck” that haunted Manchester United last season has mysteriously found its way to Borussia Dortmund. Jurgen Klopp – you have been warned, and it’s time to take action before it’s too late. Manufacture a training ground bust up with Shinji Kagawa, get a diagnosis from the club doctor that will keep the Japanese player away from the club or call in a witch doctor to perform a cleansing ceremony.
Do it now, before it’s too late.