24th April 2013, a date that would forever be etched in the hearts of Dortmund fans worldwide. Under Jurgen Klopp, Borussia Dortmund announced their arrival to the summit of European football with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over favourites Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Robert Lewandowski’s four goals seemed to have kick-started an upheaval of fortunes for Dortmund. Despite a bitter defeat in the final to rivals Bayern Munich, the surprising run to the finals of Europe’s premier club competition gave the fans reason to hope.
Fast forward five years and the team is languishing in mediocrity, as far as European football is considered. Back home, things haven’t been looking good either with Bayern Munich dominating the Bundesliga with six consecutive titles.
Since the inspired run to the final in 2013, the departure of several key players and charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp has taken its toll on the club, making silverware hard to come by.
A squad upheaval is necessary if Dortmund are to challenge again for domestic and European honours. The arrival of Lucian Favre has prompted the board to promise him the funds required to equip Dortmund to rediscover their former glory. Here’s a run-down of five transfer moves which could enable Dortmund to do just that.
Michy Batshuayi – Chelsea
The obvious choice for the vacant striker position at Dortmund, Batshuayi has already showcased his talent in a loan move to the club last season.
With nine goals in 14 games, the Belgian striker looked to have secured his position as one of Europe’s underrated elite strikers when an unfortunate ankle injury in April against Schalke ruled him out for the rest of the season and he travelled back to his home club.
The fact that Batshuayi is selected in the star-studded Belgian squad for the world cup despite his injury woes shows his immense potential.
With Chelsea asking for a fee in the region of €50 million, Dortmund would do well to snap up the fan-favourite striker soon, before his price starts to rise as other teams take notice.
Mehdi Benatia – Juventus
One of the prime reasons for Dortmund’s faltering performances last season was the leaky defence. Injuries to regulars and poor performance from established individuals such as Sokratis and Marcel Schmelzer enabled opposing teams to rack in the goals.
Much of the blame was put on goalkeeper Roman Burki, but with the signing of Marvin Hitz from Augsburg, Dortmund seem to have revitalised their goalkeeping options.
However, the defence seems to be weakening further with Sokratis on the move to Arsenal and Piszczek approaching the end of his career. It is clear that Dortmund need an established ball-winner capable of leading the defence.
Morocco defender Mehdi Benatia has been linked as a potential candidate and it’s not hard to see why. The Juventus man has plenty of Champions League experience under his belt and also used to ply his trade in the Bundesliga with champions Bayern Munich.
Aside from being physically strong and adept at tackling, the 31-year-old is also an attacking threat from set pieces (he has scored 22 goals so far in his career). Should Juventus let him leave, Dortmund would be an ideal club where Benatia would get plenty of playing time at a top European club.
Erik Lamela – Tottenham
With the seemingly inevitable departure of Christian Pulisic looming large, Dortmund would do well to start looking for an alternative winger. Quick, skilful and sporadic Argentinian Lamela fits the bill perfectly. Approaching the prime of his career, Lamela was plagued by injuries during his time at Tottenham.
Despite the injuries, he has shown glimpses of his talent with his “rabona” videos doing the rounds on social media. Four goals and seven assists in one season is an impressive haul for a player suffering from injuries for much of the season.
The 26-year-old still has much to offer and his development at Spurs is hindered by the embarrassment of riches up front. Competing with the likes of Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and Delle Alli for a place in the starting line-up is no easy task and the Argentinian might be seeking a move elsewhere. Dortmund would be a preferred destination.
With Yarmolenko and Schurrle not at their best, Lamela would probably get plenty of game time to hone his skills. Dortmund, on the other hand, would only benefit from a player of his skills and can expect him to rack up the goals.
Javier Pastore – Paris St.Germain
Pastore has been linked with a move away from PSG since months. Struggling to fight for a place in a team consisting of a plethora of world-class players, the Argentina international himself has publicly expressed his desire to move on to another club in search of regular game time. Dortmund could give him just that.
In the central midfield position, Dortmund faces a familiar problem in football these days- too many players. Unfortunately, almost none of them are good enough.
Gonzalo Castro, Sebastian Rode and Nuri Sahin have underperformed last season while Mario Gotze and Shinji Kagawa are still trying to hit top form. The acquisition of a reliable playmaker like Pastore would provide much-needed competition for a starting berth, as well as help create plenty of goal-scoring opportunities for the forwards.
With four goals and five assists in just 14 appearances for the club in 2018, it is evident that at his best, Pastore is a force to be reckoned with.
Faouzi Ghoulam- Napoli
Dortmund need a full-back. Erratic performances and frequent injuries to their established side-backs have enabled opposition attackers to thrive.
With Marcel Schmelzer and Erik Durm set to move on and Felix Passlack on loan for at least another year at Hoffenheim, an established and talented full-back would help plug up holes in defence as well as provide much-needed width going front. And there is no player better suited to this role than Napoli’s Faouzi Ghoulam.
Napoli’s poor performances towards the end of last season coincided with an injury picked up by Ghoulam. Adept at crossing the ball and quick combination play, Ghoulam tipped Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez to the Algerian player of the year award. But rumors swirl around about Ghoulam seeking a move elsewhere.
His attacking instincts would suit Dortmund who always prefer to have their full-backs support the wingers up front during attacks. Dortmund must try to prise him away from Napoli, no matter the price involved.