Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughHow long will Dortmund's Golden Generation last? (video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough How long will Dortmund's Golden Generation last? (video) - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

How long will Dortmund’s Golden Generation last? (video)

With strong rumours last week that leading Borussia Dortmund marksman Robert Lewandowski will be leaving the Westfalenstadion in the summer for arch-rivals Bayern Munich, there are genuine fears amongst the Dortmund faithful and football supporters worldwide that the reigning German champions’ golden generation may be torn apart before it reaches its prime.

In November of last year I was blown away by Dortmund’s confident and assured performance in their 2-2 draw at the Bernabeau over Spanish champions Real Madrid in what turned out to be a crucial result for the German club’s first qualification for the Champions League knockout stages since they lifted the trophy in 1997. Dortmund’s gifted youngsters controlled the tempo and the game as many of Real’s almost shell-shocked stars and coach looked on at their opposition admiringly before German international Mesut Ozil scored a late equaliser.

Why should I have been so surprised with BVB’s performance in Madrid that evening? After all, Dortmund had been mastering this attractive brand of football for at least the last two seasons, in which they have twice been crowned Bundesliga champions. This questioning sums up my anger at the ignorance that I and many professional football journalists share across the UK, so often blighted by ‘Premier League tunnel vision’ where we fail to see the greater picture and acknowledge that football is a global game.

Dortmund’s victory over Madrid did not come as such a shock to the German man sat next to me in the bar in Argentina where I watched the game. He was full of admiration for the talent within the Dortmund team and the transformation that coach Jurgen Klopp has spearheaded at the club. My German friend cheered every goal, applauded every pass and was incredibly vocal in his encouragement of Dortmund throughout. It therefore came to me as further surprise that he was in fact a fan of Dortmund’s greatest adverseries – Bayern Munich.

Having since read up on the revolution that has engulfed one of Germany’s biggest and best supported clubs since their near bankruptcy in the early 2000’s, my initial surprise at the Bayern fan’s support for Dortmund has now waned. Why wouldn’t any German football supporter get behind a team of prodigious young national talent? Perhaps a lesson for football fans on our shores can be made here.

Whilst watching the game that day, I couldn’t help but ask the Bayern supporter what is preventing a mass exodus of the likes of Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski to Qatari run Paris Saint Germain and Manchester City, Abrahmovich’s Chelsea or even the Spanish giants? After all, key operators Nuri Sahin and Shinji Kagawa had previously departed for Real Madrid and Manchester United respectively.

Although certainly not ruling out the possibility of the break-up of this justifiably adored Dortmund team, the German supporter believed that everyone at the Westfalenstadion, from the chairman to the tea-lady, is utterly convinced of the ‘project’ at Dortmund and that it will be a successful one, a sentiment recently echoed by FourFourTwo magazine’s latest feature on the German side. All the players appear to buy in to Jurgen Klopp’s philosophy, press hard, run hard, work hard and the results will follow – so far this philosophy has borne fruit.

Many believe that Dortmund are this year’s dark horses for Europe’s premier competition, including Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho who after his side’s draw the Germans in November commented “This is a team that has won two leagues in Germany and that’s not chance. It’s a very strong team. Strong, very direct and a very good team. They are candidates to win this tournament.

Many neutrals in world football including myself will hope that Borussia Dortmund’s golden generation can stick together and continue to challenge Europe’s elite for years to come in the face of the oppression of modern football and the oligarchs and oil tycoons who are increasingly trying to control the beautiful game. A Champions League win for Dortmund this season would certainly be a victory for football’s traditionalists.