Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ballack impressed by Dortmund signings but still backing Bayern

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 23 Aug 2016

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Michael Ballack feels Borussia Dortmund have recruited well this close season but still thinks they lack the “personality” to challenge Bayern Munich.

Dortmund have seen Mats Hummels join Bayern and lost Ilkay Gundogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan since the end of the 2015/16 campaign but brought in the likes of Mario Gotze, Andre Schurrle and Ousmane Dembele as replacements.

And former Germany and Bayern midfielder Ballack feels Thomas Tuchel’s side are in for another strong season.

He told Omnisport: “I think Dortmund can compensate [for the departures] although Hummels is a heavy loss.

“Gundogan is also an outstanding player but he was injured a lot while Mkhitaryan only had one good year, the last one.

“They already have players that can plug those gaps. Dembele, in particular, seems to be a player that can develop really quickly in Dortmund, just like Kingsley Coman did at Bayern.

“Of course it’s all speculation but it looks like Dortmund have the players to maintain their attractive and offensive style of play.

“Football means losing players but also keeping an eye out on those who can make you stronger. Dortmund did a really good job.”

Doing a good job is one thing, overthrowing Bayern as the dominant force in the Bundesliga is quite another, according to Ballack, who cited Carlo Ancelotti’s side’s 2-0 win at Signal Iduna Park in the DFL-Supercup as evidence.

He added: “You saw in the Super Cup that there is enough quality to temporarily hurt Bayern but there is a lack of personality because they have lost the likes of Hummels who was able to set an example, just like [Franck] Ribery, [Thomas] Muller or [Arturo] Vidal does.

“That’s what they are missing in comparison to Bayern. All the players are nice and good players but Bayern have some guys who can show strength in an away game, or in a challenge.

“That was also the difference in the Super Cup.”

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