Since completing back-to-back Bundesliga titles under Jurgen Klopp in 2011-12, Borussia Dortmund have become a go-to source of star talent for some of Europe’s heavyweight clubs.
Ousmane Dembele is set to become the latest big-name departure from Signal Iduna Park after it was announced on Friday an agreement for a €105million move to Barcelona had been reached.
The only positive for BVB is they have not seen him leave for domestic rivals Bayern Munich, who have frequently returned to raid their ranks in recent years.
Here, we look at who Dortmund have lost since their heady days under Klopp, when they departed and how they coped.
Mario Gotze won widespread acclaim for his role in Dortmund’s run to an all-German Champions League final, but the silky playmaker came in for criticism when he agreed a move to rivals Bayern on the eve of a semi-final clash with Real Madrid. An injured Gotze eventually missed the final against his future employers, with whom he spent three underwhelming seasons before returning to his boyhood club at the start of last season.
Dortmund fans suffered more pain just 12 months after Gotze’s controversial switch when another celebrated hero in Robert Lewandowski followed his path to the Allianz Arena, the fact it was a free transfer stinging all the more. Lewandowski has remained one of the most prolific strikers in Europe and won three Bundesliga titles in Munich, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stepped up to fill the goalscoring void for BVB.
Klopp left Dortmund at the conclusion of a woeful 2014-15 campaign and there was another damaging exodus the following year. Commanding central-defender Mats Hummels became the latest BVB favourite to leave for Bayern, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan was snapped up by Manchester United and metronomic midfielder Ilkay Gundogan left for Manchester City. Dembele proved a useful addition and registered 10 goals and 20 assists in 49 appearances in all competitions, while Sokratis Papastathopoulos established himself as Dortmund’s new leader at the back. The arrivals of Gotze and Andre Schurrle have yet to pay dividends, though, with the former plagued by injury.
Dembele’s decision to chase a high-profile move to Barcelona will undoubtedly invoke familiar memories for Dortmund supporters, but the Frenchman’s defection comes against a backdrop of progress; star striker Aubameyang shunned interest from China to stay at Signal Iduna Park, Gotze has returned to full fitness and Christian Pulisic looks ready for greater first-team involvement.
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