Watzke prudently refrains from declaring war on FC Bayern
Borussia Dortmund is again within striking distance of Bayern Munich. After the hard-fought victory over VfB Stuttgart, the gap to the championship leaders has shrunk to one point again. But there are no full-bodied tones in the direction of Munich. There is a reason.
Et was the 16th ordinary general meeting, attended by Hans-Joachim Watzke as managing director of Borussia Dortmund. But the 62-year-old has rarely been as cautious as on Sunday. “This is not the time to make big declarations of war,” Watzke called out to the almost 700 members present. The ongoing pandemic is too big a challenge for that. “All the other 35 Bundesliga clubs can calm down,” he concluded his lecture: “I haven’t lost a single bad word about anyone.”
In fact, Corona still has a grip on BVB. The club recorded a loss of 116 million euros over the entire period of the pandemic. This could only be cushioned by a cautious investment policy and a capital increase. The listed club is currently free of debt again. The economic situation is stable. “Corona will not knock us over, but it will inflict wounds,” said Watzke.
FC Bayern was spared, the state government was not
Should there be a further reduction in the number of spectators or even ghost games, they could be painful. Watzke struggled against the reductions that were often demanded and already implemented in Bavaria. There are “no abnormalities at all that are related to a game by Borussia Dortmund,” he learned from the health department. Watzke made an urgent appeal to keep the stadiums accessible. “Football is an open-air event, you have to keep that in mind,” he said.
Then there was still a small tip in the direction of Munich – but against the Bavarian state government. He is of the opinion that “we must not be taken into collective liability for other regions that have had fewer vaccinations and have completely different numbers,” said Watzke. North Rhine-Westphalia, on the other hand, would have “done its homework relatively well.”
The usual presentation of the team at the meeting was, however, omitted. The team will be flying to Lisbon on Tuesday, where the decisive group game in the Champions League will take place on Wednesday. “We have six points, Sporting has six points. The direct comparison now decides who has it in their own hands on the last day of the match, ”said coach Marco Rose. His team had won the first leg against the Portuguese 1-0.
Despite Watzke’s reluctance: The Dortmunders feel that, despite the difficulties in the past few weeks, it is quite possible to take a decisive step closer to their big goals. After the 2: 1 (0: 0 on Saturday against VfB Stuttgart) a combative mood spread among the 57,900 spectators Players danced on the lawn.
“It’s great when people feel like this top game,” said offensive player Julian Brandt, referring to Bayern’s guest appearance on December 4th in Dortmund. It is true that the Lisbon hurdle has to be overcome beforehand and the good starting position in the league to be maintained in Wolfsburg – but the anticipation for the German classic is great. “When you know that your fans are hot two weeks in advance, then that is a very motivating feeling,” said Brandt.
The optimism relates to staying within striking distance of the top despite the many problems. Rose’s team let down last month – in terms of personnel, football and results. In some cases six main staff were missing. There were bitter defeats in the Champions League against Ajax Amsterdam (0: 4 and 1: 3) and in the Bundesliga (1: 2 in Leipzig). But in between and afterwards also hard-fought victories in the DFB-Pokal in the Bundesliga.
The team, which is particularly suffering from the failure of Erling Haaland, forced itself back on track and after Bayern’s slip in Augsburg, the gap to the leaders is only one point.
“We have to work hard for our results right now, we don’t get anything for free,” said Rose. The 44-year-old, who has also come under fire in the meantime, is aware, however, that claims will arise from the table constellation. “A lot is always expected from Borussia Dortmund, if not the maximum. But we also expect a lot from ourselves. Our aim is to stay up there for as long as possible, ”he explained.
However, that would require a significant increase in performance. In terms of play, BVB is clearly lagging behind what can be expected of the team. The team is still a long way away from the top level. This is one of the reasons why Watzke must have been cautious.