Borussia Dortmund are rebuilding ahead of 2024/25, with a number of Jürgen Klopp's Bundesliga champions in key positions. - © DFL
Borussia Dortmund are rebuilding ahead of 2024/25, with a number of Jürgen Klopp's Bundesliga champions in key positions. - © DFL

Borussia Dortmund are getting the band back together in their search for glory


Jürgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund side was among the most successful in the club’s history, winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012 while also reaching the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League final. Now, on the back of another appearance in European club football's showpiece fixture, Die Schwarzgelben are getting the band back together in a bid to return to the Bundesliga summit...

Edin Terzić's decision to leave Dortmund at the end of the 2023/24 campaign caused shockwaves. After all, BVB had just played in only their third Champions League final, a year after narrowly missed out on the Bundesliga title in 22/23, dropping down to second on the final day. Terzić also won the DFB Cup in 2020/21 as interim boss and his longstanding connection with club, from standing on the terraces as a supporter to occupying a number of different official roles, indicated that he was perfectly suited to the job.

However, his exit has allowed another man with deep Dortmund roots to take the reins in Nuri Şahin. The midfielder joined the club as a 13-year-old in 2011 and became the then youngest Bundesliga player in history when he made his debut against Wolfsburg, aged 16 and 334 days. Across three spells, the Turkey international made over 250 appearances in all competitions, winning the league title in 2011 prior to a move to Real Madrid, before returning to lift the DFB Cup in 2017.

“It means the world to me – my connection to this club, to this city,” said Sahin upon his appointment. “I invested everything in trying to become a good coach in order to fulfil this dream. Today is the day I get this great opportunity and I'm delighted about it.”

The new head coach is joined in the dug-out by assistant and cult hero Łukasz Piszczek. While the Poland international spent the first six years of his professional career on the books of Hertha Berlin, he is synonymous with the black and yellow of Dortmund, joining the club in 2010 and spending 11 years at Signal Iduna Park prior to his 2021 departure.

Piszczek played in all but one of Dortmund’s Champions League matches on their way to the 2013 final and ended up making just short of 400 official appearances for club. Only ex-Dortmund and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has featured more often among Polish nationals in the Bundesliga. In 2020/21, Piszczek was something of a good-luck charm, with Dortmund winning all 11 league games he played in that term, a new record.

After three years with LKS Goczałkowice-Zdrój in his homeland – the final one of as player-coach - the former right-back hung up his boots earlier this summer to join Şahin in Dortmund. In a short post on social media platform X, Piszczek shared: “I am very happy to be returning to Borussia Dortmund, this time as an assistant coach. Thank you for your trust.”

Łukasz Piszczek has returned to Dortmund as one of three assistant coaches. - IMAGO/MICHAL CHWIEDUK

Sebastian Kehl, now Dortmund’s sporting director, played a crucial role in adding Piszczek to Şahin’s backroom staff. Another BVB stalwart, the he also notched up over 350 matches for the Ruhr-based outfit as a player over 13 years, with only injuries prevented him from amassing considerably more.

Six of those were as captain, and such was Kehl’s longevity, he played in Dortmund’s title-winning campaigns of 2001/02, 2010/11 and 2011/12. It has been quite the journey both for him and Dortmund as a whole. The heartbeat of the team stayed when Dortmund were on the verge of bankruptcy, playing a key role in their subsequent recovery. After calling time on his playing career in 2015, Kehl returned to the club three years later as players licence department director before replacing Michael Zorc in his current role in 2022.

Sebastian Kehl is now Dortmund's sporting director after a distinguished playing career at the club. - IMAGO/Revierfoto

Another member of Klopp’s memorable side who remains part of the Dortmund furniture is Romain Weidenfeller, who now occupies an international ambassador position. The goalkeeper spent a monstruous 16 years between the sticks for the team, making 453 appearances – a figure topped at the 1997 European champions by Zorc and Mats Hummels.

Across Klopp’s two title-winning campaigns, Weidenfeller missed just three games, and was first-choice goalkeeper for the best part of 11 years. The fact 70,000 people turned out for his testimonial in September 2018 only underlines his importance and the impact he had for over one-and-a-half decades.

“They've been there for me for 16 years,” the shot-stopper said after his final Bundesliga home match against Mainz. "It just means the world to me to say goodbye to them. They supported us through thick and thin. I thanked them for their support”.

After shedding his gloves for the final time, it was only a matter of time before the Diez native moved on to representative his footballing love internationally.

Watch: Roman Weidenfeller - Borussia Dortmund's legendary keeper

So what’s next? Marcel Schmelzer as match analyst? Kevin Großkreutz as scout? Shinji Kagawa as stadium announcer? In all seriousness, Dortmund are clearly eager to bring back fan favourites who can share with fresh faces exactly what it means to representative one of German football’s most successful, traditional and well-known institutions. It can lead to success, too, as Bayern Munich’s strong history of employing former players such as Uli Hoeneß, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Hasan Salihamidžić, Oliver Kahn and many other suggests.

For now, though, regardless of what the future holds, Şahin can call upon several friends and trusted confidants as he makes his first steps in charge. And if they can work together like they did under Klopp, silverware may not be far around the corner.