Borussia Dortmund's class of 2022/23 are one step away from lifting the Bundesliga title. They were also the last team to lift the trophy before Bayern Munich's ten-year title stranglehold - we trace what has since become of that class of 2012.
Roman Weidenfeller (goalkeeper)
Weidenfeller was the undisputed No.1 at Dortmund during their triumphant 2011/12 campaign – his 10th season at the club – and started 32 of the team's 34 Bundesliga encounters as they stormed to the title. He was part of Germany's FIFA World Cup-winning squad in 2014, even if he didn't take to the pitch, and remained first-choice goalkeeper at Dortmund until 2015/16, when he lost his place to Roman Bürki under newly installed coach Thomas Tuchel. Ever the professional, Weidenfeller stayed as understudy until the end of the 2017/18 season, at which point he hung up his boots – after a star-stacked testimonial at the Signal Iduna Park. The 38-year-old has since worked behind the scenes at Dortmund and appeared as a pundit on German television.
Lukasz Piszczek (right full-back)
Signed from Bundesliga rivals Hertha Berlin in July 2010, Piszczek was a mainstay in the Borussia Dortmund team for over a decade, making a mammoth 264 Bundesliga outings in 11 seasons in black and yellow. Not only was Piszczek solid at the back and aggressive in tackles, he is remembered for his threat at the opposite end of the pitch too, chipping in with 16 Bundesliga goals for the club. He bade an emotional farewell to Dortmund in 2021 and has since made several appearances for his hometown club in the Polish fourth tier - Goczalkowice-Zdroj.
Neven Subotic (centre-back)
Jürgen Klopp took Subotic with him from Mainz when he moved to BVB in 2008 and the elegant defender soon struck up a partnership at the heart of defence alongside Mats Hummels. The Serbian remained one of the first names on the teamsheet for a few years after lifting the Meisterschale in 2012, including starting the 2013 UEFA Champions League final against Bayern, but a series of injuries and the emergence of Sokratis at the club meant he gradually slipped down the pecking order from 2015/16 onwards. Subotic went on a six-month loan to Cologne in early 2017 and went on to make four more Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund upon his return before finally leaving for French side AS St. Etienne in January 2018. A season at then Bundesliga new boys Union Berlin followed in 2019/20 before he saw out his playing days at Denizlispor in Turkey and SCR Altach in Austria.
Mats Hummels (centre-back)
Alongside Subotic, Hummels provided the bedrock upon which Dortmund's title was constructed, winning two titles with the Westphalians before returning to Bayern – where his career had started – in 2016 and adding three further titles to his collection. His first spell with Dortmund lasted for eight years and saw him crowned world champion in 2014, establishing his reputation as one of the world's best defenders. He would be back for more in 2019, when he signed again for BVB. His experience provided a valuable contribution to the Dortmund defence as the club worked its way to the brink of the 2022/23 title - which would be Hummel's sixth in total and third for Dortmund.
Marcel Schmelzer (left full-back)
As a rare one-club player, Schmelzer made a total of 258 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund since joining as a 17-year-old in 2005. He did not miss a single minute of action when BVB won the title in 2010/11 and was first choice left-back the following season too. Indeed, his positioning, strength in the tackle and overall consistency made him a fan favourite and a player heavily relied upon by various coaches, from Klopp to Tuchel, Peter Bosz and Peter Stöger. A knee injury took a heavy toll on Schemlzer and severely limited his playing time in the autumn of his career, however. Still, he was given a very fond farewell in May 2022 when he finally retired after an incredible 17 seasons as a Dortmund player.
Ilkay Gündogan (defensive midfielder)
Gündogan played a total of five seasons with Dortmund before joining Manchester City in 2016. He has since racked up an astonishing number of trophies to add to his 2012 Bundesliga crown under the guidance of former Bayern coach Pep Guardiola - with five Premier League titles and five cups thus far. Injuries blighted his time with Dortmund, and he struggled on that front for some time in England, but arguably enjoyed some of his finest form after turning 30 in 2020. His past three seasons have been the three highest-scoring in his career, and he has been a key player in City's run to the UEFA Champions League final in 2022/23 - which saw them eliminate his old rivals Bayern in the process.
Sebastian Kehl (defensive midfielder)
Dortmund through and through, ever since he snubbed Bayern to join the Westphalians from Freiburg in 2002. After 14 seasons at the heart of the action for BVB, his heart continues to beat for the Black & Yellows as the club's sporting director. Kehl used his gap year between playing and putting on a suit to gain his UEFA A coaching licence and a UEFA qualification in management.
Jakub Blaszczykowski (attacking midfielder)
'Kuba', as Blaszczykowski is commonly known, was Poland's Footballer of the Year in 2008 and 2010, in the middle of his eight years in Dortmund. After falling just shy of making 200 appearances for BVB, he spent a year in Italy's Serie A with Fiorentina before returning to further his Bundesliga career with Wolfsburg. After three more years in Germany, he returned to Wisla Krakow 2019, on a charitable mission: earning next to nothing, he instead contributed to the club's financial survival, paying wages and donating tickets to the poor, while extending his own playing days at the club that launched his career. While his appearances became rather infrequent in Krakow in the following years, he made an eight-minute substitute appearance for the side in May 2023.
Shinji Kagawa (attacking midfielder)
Kagawa's first two years in German football coincided with their two Bundesliga titles under Klopp, and Manchester United were particularly impressed by the Japanese attacking midfielder, luring him to England in 2012. He spent three seasons with the Red Devils before returning to Dortmund for another four and a half years, and moved to Besiktas in the 2018/19 winter transfer window. Kagawa's footballing journey consequently took him to Real Zaragoza in Spain, PAOK in Greece and Sint-Truiden in Belgium before a return home to his first professional club Cerezo Osaka in January 2023.
Kevin Großkreutz (attacking midfielder)
A firm fan favourite, Kevin Großkreutz's workmanlike approach endeared him to the blue-collar locals as he filled almost every position on the field – even goalkeeper – without complaints, and with no lack of passion and determination. A World Cup winner, he was an integral part of both of Dortmund's title triumphs before an ill-fated move to Galatasaray in 2016. He returned to Germany in January 2016, joining VfB Stuttgart, but a year later, he left Swabia and took a month out of the game before moving to Darmstadt. In 2018, he switched again to Uerdingen in Germany's third division and continues to play in amateur leagues in the Dortmund region.
Robert Lewandowski (striker)
A man who needs little – if any – introduction, Lewandowski has continued doing for Bayern and Barcelona what he had done so well at Dortmund: score goals. In March 2019, he joined Claudio Pizarro as the Bundesliga's most prolific foreign goalscorer on 195 goals, having become Bayern's most prolific foreigner with over 120 strikes for the Bavarians. A total of 238 goals, seven Bundesliga top scorer honours and eight league titles was his immense legacy to the German game before he joined Barcelona in summer 2022. A La Liga title was claimed in his first season in Spain, with the honour of finishing as the league's top goalscorer looking near certain.
Sven Bender (defensive midfielder)
Four further years in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen followed an eight-year spell at Dortmund for Bender. He was a key member of Klopp's team, particularly in 2011/12, and showed versatility under his successor Tuchel to fullfil a new central defensive role that he continued at Die Werkself.
Mario Götze (attacking midfielder)
Mario Götze returned in 2016 for a second of two four-year spells at Dortmund - punctuated by three years at Bayern in which he swelled his Bundesliga title collection to five, and won two more DFB Cups and a UEFA Super Cup. Perhaps best known for his winning goal in the 2014 World Cup Final, Götze went to PSV in the Netherlands before returning to the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt at the start of 2022/23 - and continuing to trick defences as a wily attacking operator.
Watch: Mario Götze: Back Where It All Began
Ivan Perisic (attacking midfielder)
Perisic helped Dortmund win the title in 2012 before moving on to Wolfsburg. He helped the Wolves to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League in 2014/15 before moving to Italy and Inter Milan. A goal in the 2018 World Cup final, albeit on the losing side, was a career highlight during his six-year spell in Serie A that also saw a loan period at Bayern in 2019/20. He joined Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League in 2022.
Felipe Santana (central defender)
The Brazilian defender spent five years with Dortmund before making the brave move to their local rivals Schalke in 2013. After just one season with the Royal Blues, he was loaned out to Olympiacos – where he won a Greek league title – before making a permanent switch to Kuban Krasnodar in Russia. He was released by them in 2016 and spent half a year out of action before returning to his native Brazil and joining Atletico Mineiro, although he was let go by them in April 2018. He has since made appearances for Chapecoense and Atlético Catarinense.
Chris Löwe (central defender)
The German central defender featured only a handful of times between 2011 and 2013 for Dortmund before joining Bundesliga 2 club Kaiserslautern, with whom he made 99 appearances. He joined former Dortmund reserve team coach David Wagner in England at Huddersfield Town in 2016 and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League. After Huddersfield were relegated in 2019, Löwe left for Dynamo Dresden and signed for fourth-tier Chemnitzer FC at the start of the 2022/23 season.
Moritz Leitner (defensive midfielder)
Leitner had spells with Dortmund and Stuttgart in the Bundesliga before spending a season at Lazio in Italy. Augsburg offered him a route back into the Bundesliga in 2017, but he did not feature frequently and joined Norwich in England's second division in 2018. He made some Premier League appearances following their promotion in 2018/19 and was on the books for Zürich in the 2021/22 season before being released by the Swiss side.
Lucas Barrios (striker)
With 39 goals in 83 games for Dortmund, tears were spilled when the Paraguayan forward left for Guangzhou Evergrande in 2012. He returned to Europe a year later, and became something of a journeyman with spells at Spartak Moscow, Montpellier, Palmeiras, Gremio, Argentinos Juniors, Colo-Colo, Huracan, Gimnasia LP, Defensa y Justicia and Patronato. He is currently at Sportivo Trinidense in his native Paraguay. Goals have followed him around everywhere on his travels through the world of football.
Patrick Owomoyela (left full-back)
The former Germany international ended his playing career in 2015 after a season with Hamburg, but he has remained on the scene as an English-language pundit for the Bundesliga.
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