The German way is the right way

In 2001 the Bundesliga diverged from the original DFB (Deutscher Fußball-Bund) league structure and since then it has never looked back. German football has grown exponentially and one factor can be pegged down to the emergence of the country’s talent pool. Prior to its divergence we would only associate old age and experience players with the league 

Though, in today’s climate exuberant youths seem be at the forefront of the league. Today’s exposé looks at the organisation of Dortmund, how the club is run; a new direction that should be emulated going forward.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, Bourissa Dortmund’s owner for all that do not know has described German football as “romantic” for retaining its “50% plus one” rule. This the rule that requires Bundesliga clubs to be owned by their members. A rule that seems more humane than the policies across the channel. No doubt a dig at their now formal Champions League group rivals, Manchester City and their overwhelming funding by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi. City with all their frivolous spending only amounted to bowing out the competition bottom of their group without a win.

With the “50% plus rule” in place, all 36 Bundesliga clubs are owned or controlled by their members, except the historic exceptions of Wolfsburg, owned by Volkswagen, Bayer Leverkeusen, owned by the pharmacy giant Bayer, and Hoffenheim, which is now funded by a single very wealthy entrepreneur, Dietmar Hopp.

Now compare that to the growing fashion of foreign owners across the English top tier. Watzke takes a swipe at the Premier League, as he questioned the ethos and sustainability of the Premier League clubs’ ownership.

Now lets take a closer look at Watze’s club, Dortmund and how they have kept its integrity in football. An integrity that is almost archaic in today’s game. Dortmund is a supporters club, by which I mean a club catered around the needs of the fans rather than its owners.

At Dortmund, the 25,000 fans who form the famous “Yellow Wall” standing area in the south stand of Signal Iduna Park pay just €190 (£154) for a season ticket, for the 17 home Bundesliga matches. Compare those prices to those of the top English sides and you can see the real motives of the club business. 

Watzke states, “Here, it is our way to have cheap tickets, so young people can come,” Watzke said. “We would make €5m more a season if we had seats, but there was no question to do it, because it is our culture. In England it is a lot more expensive. Football is more than a business.” Make what you want of that.

Despite missing out on €5m revenue, Dortmund’s performance on the pitch is as impressive as ever. Yesterday saw Dortmund top their Champions League group. A group dubbed “the Group of Death” could not possibly account for Dortmund, as they topped the two business tycoons of Manchester City and Real Madrid. “Everybody told me you cannot play in the Champions League against clubs like Manchester, they have more money. But we are trying to do it ourselves, in our way.” That they did.

Have you fell in love with Dortmund yet?

Now for the fans that repay the trust and love bestowed onto them by the higher-ups with unbeatable support. Constant roaring, bellowing and chanting rip through the sound barrier, as huge yellow flags soar through the air, cutting wind unfurled, and the ultras, on a platform facing the thronging terrace, urge and lead the fans’ singing with a megaphone, literally banging the drum. An atmosphere consistently apparent from start to finish, every game in the Signal Iduna Park.

The absence of owners bankrolling spending, paves way for a sensible football philosophy. Watze outlined, “We realised in 2007, when we had no money, that we needed a completely new way,” he said. “We decided to buy only young players, who would give what the Dortmund people want: every effort.”

When Jurgen Klopp, came in from Mainz he immediately bit into Dortmund’s prudent reliance on youth. Into this philosophy fits the core of German and home-grown players, which pays a fraction of Manchester City’s frivolous wage bill. Kevin Grosskreutz and Mario Götze, particular favourites that have emanated from the clubs youth squad.

Dortmund’s organisation and philosophy is an alluring one and merely a brief but potent insight into German football. Dortmund’s monumental standing areas, coalesced with cheap tickets, and member-owned clubs whose executives hold forth about the game’s soul, football in Germany speaks to us. Oh how we have forsaken ourselves.

‘Etche Liebe’ (German for ‘Real Love’)

And while we’re at it…

The transfer window is imminently approaching, and for Arsenal this is a time where rumours and speculation spread like a rash in heat. For weeks now Arsenal fans have ditched out innumerable amounts of tirades about Wenger’s inability to spend big.

However, all this does not convince me. I am of the understanding that brining in new faces isn’t the number one priority.

Buying new players will only throw a blanket over what is a hot mess and could just be seen as a waste of money. Throwing money at the problem wont work and is akin to a rich little spoilt girl buying something new to avoid fixing something.

There are so much internal problems that if you do not catch it early; the whole system will shut down. How Arsenal perform without the ball is alarmingly worrying. The Premier League is somewhat a copycat league, by which I mean that if something works against a team another team will try emulating their success. Thus, it is no secret that to deter Arsenal from playing involves man marking Mikel Arteta and closing down every pass. Despite all this, Wenger has refused to change 

Yvens Tiamou