british interest in borussia dortmund no surprise to the men who make the yellow wall work
up to 1,000 british fans travel to germany to experience the borussia experience at every home game, and dortmund claim they are attracted by the unique ambience of one of europe’s last great romantic clubs.
by ian chadband, chief sports correspondent 7:23pm gmt 05 nov 2013 telegraph.co.uk
hans-joachim watzke, the chief executive of borussia dortmund, was struck by an extraordinary phenomenon when, caught up in traffic on the way to his club’s recent bundesliga game against hanover, he decided to get out of the car with his son and walk the last 500 metres to the westfalenstadion.
“this 500 metres must have taken about an hour to walk as i got stopped for what seemed about 250 photos,” said watzke, recalling a great time mingling with the usual 80,000 fans. “and the amazing thing was that i think about 10 per cent of those who asked for photos were english guys.
“it made me realise just how many english people were going to the stadium. my son told me, ‘it’s marvellous; they’re all speaking english’. it was very surprising for me but they all told me it was because of wonderful atmosphere and wonderful prices.”
this is the borussia experience they fly hundreds of mile to relish.
on wednesday night arsenal will bring 3,300 fans to watch their champions league clash but a brit invasion is nothing new.
at every dortmund home match, 800-1,000 fans will usually have made the trip from britain.
why? because, according to watzke, they are attracted by the unique ambience of one of europe’s last great romantic clubs, where the tickets – and beer – are cheap, the fans are put first and an extraordinary throwback feel, full of raw passion and energy at the best attended club in the world, can perhaps make them remember something that british football has mislaid.
“i think the english have the deepest feeling for football, a little bit more of a romantic feeling than in italy, so i think that maybe they think there is something missing in english football, that the english clubs have lost a bit of a feeling,” says watzke.
“not necessarily just in london, but maybe in newcastle or other cities. that’s the great difficulty they face. they’re not as in touch with the heart as over here.”
it is a big claim that should concern and wound england’s fat cats, even if watzke will not criticise premier league clubs. “they have been very successful; i’m not the guy who has to tell them what they have to do and they must go their way. but we go our way.” and an extraordinarily persuasive way it looks. compare, for instance, tonight’s opponents, two of the most attractive teams and best run clubs in their respective leagues.
staggeringly, arsenal, according to watzke, make 45 times as much revenue from their home match days as dortmund yet their cheapest season ticket is about twice as dear as borussia’s most expensive.
a season ticket for dortmund’s famed sudtribune, to savour one of football’s great experiences on the “yellow wall”, europe’s biggest stadium terrace, alongside 25,000 bouncing fans costs just €190 (£160). arsenal’s cheapest seat costs £985.
carsten cramer, dortmund’s marketing director, suggests the british fan invasion over the past couple of years can partly be explained because of the cost of budget air travel and a ticket, whose price includes free public transport, can work out cheaper than a day out at some london clubs.
borussia could rake in many millions more on match day but choose not to.
“we would lose credibility, we would lose loyalty, we would lose the bonding force with the fans. and that would cost us,” says cramer. “for instance, our caterers asked to increase the price of half a litre of beer from €3.70 [£3.11] to €3.80 [£3.19] and we said that extra 10 cents doesn’t make the difference, why should we increase it? it doesn’t satisfy our people.”
as watzke explains, the dortmund philosophy must be that “no fan of borussia dortmund has a feeling that he is a client. german fans don’t want to feel like a spectator going to the theatre or the opera. they want to feel part of the whole.
they bill themselves, with no false modesty, as “europe’s hottest club”, and they might be right as on and off the field they flourish spectacularly. in nine years since helping rescue the club from near-bankruptcy, watzke has masterminded their path to a champions league final last year and two bundesliga titles in the past three seasons under jürgen klopp, a coach he feels is the world’s best. all achieved on a shoestring, relative to their major european rivals, too.
“we have not so much money,” says watzke. “a transfer budget of €67 million [£56 million] – i think stoke city has the same – and so we must be very, very sure that every euro of our investment comes back. and for that jürgen is very important because we must have a coach that makes every player better.”
in a way, dortmund, with their 55,000 season ticket holders and 95,000 club members, epitomise the flourishing health of german football.
the bundesliga’s “50 plus one” rule which ensures the club is controlled by those members means that no foreign investor could ever take over anyway but watzke emphasises the point, saying: “if an arabian or a russian phones me [to try to buy the club], i think the conversation will last 20 seconds.
"i will say i’m not interested. i would never be interested. because with an arabian or a russian investor, who has the influence over the club, i think there wouldn’t be 80,000 spectators, there would be 20,000.
“the people at chelsea were happy to win the champions league, but i think the borussia fans wouldn’t be happy to win it with an arabian investor because then they wouldn’t be a piece of the club. then they would only be customers — and they don’t want to be customers.
“english clubs must look at financial fair play. it’s not a problem for manchester united but for clubs who don’t have revenues yet spend money like monaco.
“it’s correct that a club must spend from their revenues. it’s not the way of sport that the club with the richest investor wins. the club that wins should be the one that has the best team and the best management and the best ideas — not only the money. that’s the point.”
football should hope the dortmund pioneers continue to thrive.
published: wednesday 6 november 2013, 23.00cet borussia dortmund 0-1 arsenal fc
ın-form midfielder aaron ramsey scored the only goal of the game as the premier league leaders also maintained control of group f.
aaron ramsey continued his excellent scoring form for arsenal fc with the only goal of the game to earn the premier league leaders a 1-0 victory at borussia dortmund.
the welsh international's 13th goal for club and country this season was enough to extend arsenal's unbeaten streak to 15 away games in all competitions while also ending the hosts' run of seven straight home victories in the uefa champions league. the gunners draw level with ssc napoli, who beat olympique de marseille 3-2, on nine points at the section summit, with dortmund three behind in third.
considering jürgen klopp had promised a "heavy metal" performance from his side, the opening quarter of an hour was fairly easy listening with most of the noise coming from the enthusiastic home crowd. possession was balanced with both teams adopting a respectful, almost tentative approach.
neven subotic nearly upset the parity when he stabbed just wide after ramsey had inadvertently headed a marco reus free-kick back across his own area on 17 minutes and subsequently dortmund began to grasp control. jakub blaszczykowski hooked another effort high and wide after good play between kevin grosskreutz and reus on the right, but the best chance of the half fell to henrikh mkhitaryan, who failed to beat wojciech szczesny one-on-one after being played in by reus.
robert lewandowski, hat-trick hero at the weekend against vfb stuttgart, took his frustrations out with a powerful shot from range as the half-time whistle neared. when the second period began in a similar fashion, with reus and blaszczykowski each drawing saves from szczesny, it was clearly the bundesliga side on top.
then arsenal struck. anonymous for the first hour, mesut özil swung over a cross which olivier giroud did well to nod down for ramsey to steal in ahead of nuri şahin and head past weidenfeller. with the deadlock broken, the game opened up and as dortmund poured forward in search of a leveller, ramsey almost scored again but was denied by roman weidenfeller at the near post.
şahin then had to intervene on the line to keep out a giroud effort and marcel schmelzer swerved a fierce strike into the side netting at the other end. despite a frantic finish there was to be no further score and arsenal move top of the section, a position also familiar to them domestically.
ingiltere'deki maçı 2-1 kazanan borussia dortmund, nuri şahin'in ilk 11'de görev aldığı maçta arsenal'e 1-0 mağlup oldu.
arsenal'in etkisiz kaldığı ilk yarıda dortmund yakaladığı pozisyonları gole çeviremedi. 17. dakikada bender'in duran toptan ortasında şutu çeken subotic, topu az farkla auta gönderdi. 22. dakikada ise schmelzer'in ceza sahası dışından şutu savunmadan döndü. 25. dakikada grosskreutz'un ortasında sol çaprazdan blaszczykowski sert vurdu. top direğin dibinden auta çıktı. 37. dakikada da dortmund'un hızlı hücumunda mkhitaryan'ın yay üzerinden şutu isabetli olmadı. 43. dakikada bender'in ortasına lewandowski vurdu. bu şut da gol olmayınca ilk yarı golsüz sona erdi 0-0.
dortmund'un baskısı ikinci yarıda da devam etti. 50. dakikada bender'in ortasında reus kafayı vurdu. kaleci gole izin vermedi. 51. dakikada da blaszczykowski kaleciye takıldı. 62. dakikada giroud'nun kafayla indirdiği topta son dokunuşu kale önünde ramsey yaptı ve takımını ilk kaleyi bulan şutlarında öne geçirdi 0-1.
65. dakikada giroud ortaladı. gelişine etkili vuran ramsey'yi kaleci weidenfeller durdurdu. 70. dakikada ise serbest vuruştan cazorla'nın ortasına mertesacker kafayı vurdu. top kaleyi bulmadı.
bu sonucun ardından borussia dortmund 6 puanda kalırken arsenal puanını 9'a çıkardı. alınan bu sonuçla arsenal şampiyonlar ligi'nde dortmund'u evinde yenen ilk ingiliz ekibi oldu.