It had been predicted for months now. Dortmund were going to win the league, but were going to struggle to keep their young teams of up-and-coming stars together through the summer. The first name to fall was Nuri Sahin, Dortmund's fantastic midfielder whose distribution has been key to BVB's success. His importance to the team was apparent in the last couple games that he has not played due to a leg injury. Instead Antonio da Silva has had the unenviable position of trying to fill the shoes of one of the Bundesliga's top players of the year. He did a good job in his role, but it was obvious how much Sahin was missed.
After taking the German domestic title, the team cheered and partied in front of the famed yellow wall of Westfalenstadion. The roar was tremendous and the players were hyped up, save for Sahin, who looked almost uncomfortable. It seemed that he knew he was leaving this and it was a tough goodbye for him. "Saying goodbye to my team-mates was very, very difficult. They are all so close to my heart and it was a very emotional goodbye. Everybody did everything for each other in this team and this is a fantastic team which has won a fantastic title," said Sahin. This was more than just a talented group of players. It was a team that played and lived together. You could see it in their play. They loved playing for each other. They loved playing for their manager, Jurgen Klopp. And, most of all, they loved playing for the 80,000 roaring fans decked out in black and yellow. Its a tough place to leave, but Real Madrid is a tough gig to pass up.
Real Madrid is now stacked with midfielders and could be planning on offloading at least one or two. With Ronaldo, di Maria, Kaka, Diarra, Xabi Alonso, Ozil, Khedira, and now Sahin, as well as Gago, Granero, Leon, and Canales all available to play midfield for Mourinho, its becoming a bit of a log jam. It'll be interesting to see if any of the big names move out of Madrid.
On the other hand, Borussia Dortmund now have a hole that needs to be filled. Fortunately, the front office has already planned ahead for just this thing happening. They have already lined up to sign on Ilkay Gundogan, who currently plays for Nuremburg. He netted 5 goals and assisted on 2 in 21 appearances for his club. "Ilkay has an excellent passing game and is overall a very high quality player who fits perfectly into our system," commented Klopp after announcing news of his transfer to Dortmund.
It appears the Dortmund will not miss a beat. Losing Sahin will be a big blow, but the front office at Westfalenstadion has vowed to keep their players here. If they stay true to that promise and Sahin is the only big name to leave, Dortmund could represent a big threat in next year Champions League. They were incredibly dominant in Germany this year, scoring 64 and only letting in 21 goals with 1 game left. The squad is young and growing. Signs are pointing to this team only getting better with the only caveat being that they have to stay together. The unity of the squad, the fans, and the city ought to be a big draw for the club. I, for one, cannot wait to see them play mid-week games in the Champions League.