Watzke confident for Dortmund future
Borussia Dortmund CEO Aki Watzke has told Bild it will be impossible for the club to find a like-for-like replacement for Robert Lewandowski when he joins Bayern Munich in the summer, but he remains confident about the club's ability to recover from the loss.
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The striker, who has scored 18 goals in 30 Bundesliga games this season, will play his last game for the club in the final of the DFB Pokal on May 17.
Although Watzke believes it will be hard to replace the Poland international he has told BVB fans not to worry.
“When Nuri Sahin left for Real Madrid [in 2011], it was predicted we would not be able to deal with the loss. The same thing happened when Shinji Kagawa joined Manchester United [in 2012],” Watzke said.
“We will certainly not be able to replace Robert like-for-like but we will not drop into a Lewandowski hole.”
Watzke explained that the main reason for his confidence is the retention of coach Juergen Klopp, who, on Tuesday, committed himself to Dortmund once again after being linked to Barcelona and Manchester United.
He said: “We have one of the best coaches in the world and he has always managed to find a solution. I am not at all anxious about next season. I am convinced that it will be a successful season again.”
By beating Mainz 4-2 at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday, Dortmund qualified for a fourth consecutive season of Champions League football for the first time in their history. According to media reports in Germany on Tuesday, the club will now turn their attention to reinforcing the squad prior to the 2014-2015 season, which will end with the Champions League final contested in Berlin.
“To juggle three balls at once we need a certain squad depth,” Watzke told kicker referring to the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Sven Bender, Neven Subotic and Jakub Blazczykowski, who will return to action from “various rehab facilities” ahead of the new season. However, the club still plan to spend big in the transfer market.
German football weekly kicker claims that Dortmund are set to spend more than the initially expected 30 million euros, with funds coming from their 53 million-euro profit from the 2012-13 season.
The usually well-informed BVB editors Thomas Hennecke and Freddie Roeckenhaus report in their respective papers kicker and Sueddeutsche Zeitung that Dortmund have stepped up their interest in Torino attacker Ciro Immobile.
The 24-year old Italy international had already been linked with Dortmund last week, and, as both papers report, Borussia face competition from Atletico Madrid and West Ham. Immobile is owned equally by Juventus and Torino, and with the complicated contract situation the player, who is currently rated at 15 million euros, could prove to be too expensive.
Sueddeutsche also link Dortmund with Real Madrid attacker Diego Morata, 21, and Romelu Lukakau who is on loan at Everton from Chelsea.
According to both papers, Die Schwarzgelben have also not given up on Shinji Kagawa returning and are set to move for the Japan international, but this has been ruled out by German sports journalist Raphael Honigstein, who took to Twitter to say that “Shinji wants to stay” with United.
Dortmund have already signed Hertha attacker Adrian Ramos, and Augsburg striker Ji Dong-Won, and are also believed to have agreed a deal with Freiburg’s 20-year-old defensive all-rounder Matthias Ginter.