Debt-ridden BV Borussia Dortmund are having a miserable time in the Bundesliga.
By Mark Bennett
Earlier this week BV Borussia Dortmund commercial manager Michael Meier issued a statement announcing that the contract of injury-plagued Brazilian striker Marcio Amoroso was to be terminated. "Borussia Dortmund doesn't have any interest in players who demonstrate so little respect to their employers as we've repeatedly experienced with Amoroso," said Meier.
Out of action since tearing a knee ligament in September, the 29-year-old's failure to return from Brazil for medical tests had infuriated Dortmund, but the club now face a big bill if they are to offload one of their biggest earners. Once more, it seems, the 1997 European champions look to be paying a heavy price for
Once FC Bayern München's main rivals in the Bundesliga, this season the trail has gone cold for the big-spending side from the Ruhr valley. Seventh in the Bundesliga - and a full 23 points adrift of leaders SV Werder Bremen - Dortmund have already admitted to losses of almost €30m this season. "We had calculated our income with the takings from the UEFA Champions League or a good UEFA Cup run," admitted Meier.
Defeat against Club Brugge KV in the qualifying stages of this season's UEFA Champions League and then more disappointment against FC Sochaux-Montbéliard in the first round of the UEFA Cup hacked off vital revenue streams for Dortmund, and now it seems that coach Matthias Sammer will see many of the club's crown jewels sold to pay the debts.
Back in 2001, the club paid around €50m for the trio of Marcio Amoroso, Jan Koller and Tomáš Rosický, with German international Torsten Frings costing a further €8.5m before the start of the 2002/03 season. However, with the state of the club's finances, some in Germany have suggested that the club would be willing to listen to serious offers for any of their big-name players - including current stars Dede and German international defender Christoph Metzelder.
To an extent, the club have already prepared for the prospect of letting their biggest stars go, with a number of young talents having been introduced to the first team. An appalling run of injuries which saw the likes of Frings, Amoroso, Evanilson and Metzelder confined to the sidelines allowed Salvatore Gambino, David Odonkor, Sahr Senesie and Markus Brzenska to step up from the reserves.
Those four have showed no small amount of promise, and a new-look Dortmund for next season may also include midfield player Florian Kringe. Having been on loan with Bundesliga strugglers 1. FC Köln for 18 months, it seems Dortmund are finally ready to take him back. "I am sure that he will make the grade in Dortmund," said Köln coach Andreas Rettig.
Timo Achenbach and Florian Thorwart, who are both on loan with second division VfB Lübeck, also look set to return to Dortmund in the summer and it seems the former big spenders are also learning the value of buying cheap, as a major campaign of signing players from the lower leagues will precede Dortmund's next Bundesliga campaign.
SV Wacker Burghausen attacking midfield player Youssef Mokhtari is alleged to be their number one target after the Moroccan finished joint top scorer at this year's African Cup of Nations. "Youssef will be hard to hang on to," said coach Rudi Bommer who knows that a fixed transfer fee of €300,000 will suit Dortmund's new tight budget.
The likes of Amoroso may be on the way out, but young players may yet put the former big spenders back on course.