Hooray, Hooray, Dortmund is here!

Top football match in Leipzig: On 3/3/2018 RB Leipzig welcomes the Borussia from Dortmund on the 25th match day of the German Bundesliga. It is already the fourth meeting of both clubs in the still young Bundesliga history of RB Leipzig. Currently, the Saxons are ahead with two wins from three games. In addition, the game holds a certain explosiveness. This not only because of the riots from February 2017 in Dortmund. Rather, both teams are damned to win. The football fans are waiting for a game that can hardly be surpassed. Therefore, HHL presents a brief look into the mood of both Champions League competitors by Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch who according to sport1 “ is one of the leading experts round here who research the strategic direction of football clubs.” 

Henning Zülch holds the Chair of Accounting and Auditing at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. The researcher, who was born in the city of Dortmund, focuses his work not only on financial market communication but also the transferability of the fundamental principles of economics to the successful leadership of sports clubs.

Hooray, Hooray, Dortmund is here!
by Professor Henning Zülch

For the first time ever, RB Leipzig can feel the frosty climate of Germany’s national soccer league

Things have not been running smoothly for RB recently. The team narrowly lost the last two games. The spectators stay away and some of the top performers from the team and the club do not want to extend their contracts. For the first time ever, RB Leipzig is experiencing somewhat of a dry spell. While RB was the shooting star of the league which was difficult to assess by its opponents last season, its current system is relatively easy to see through. Little creativity in the midfield and a game plan characterized by individual actions. Moreover, the double burden from the international matches is becoming increasingly obvious. After all, it is not easy to play during the week and on the weekend, even if the management does not admit to it. The club is losing perspective step by step as important lead players leave the team that had grown together for years or think about making changes and taking the next step in their careers. Players that were courted by the club do not want to come to Leipzig. And finally, the youth work was rather disappointing, producing unsatisfactory results. And the management? It tries to convey the necessary composure which never really existed in the first place. The only thing that could help seems to be a win over Dortmund as a start.

BVB disappoints on a national and international level and plays civil service soccer without imagination

The times of hooray soccer in Dortmund were buried this season once and for all. The team, which played big at the beginning of the season, has collapsed. No one really knows why when looking at the names on the BVB team. One of Europe’s premire attacking midfields includes Marco Reus, who has recovered from his injuries, Mario Götze, who served as the creative driving force in the last few games and, of course, André Schürrle, who is eager to eventually shed his image as an ill-advised acquisition. However, the defense remains a sore spot. Peter Stöger has hardly resolved this issue either. The flow of play and the wealth of ideas from past years seem rather limited. Experienced professionals such as Sahin and Castro continue to disappoint. And the coach? He is looking for concept method and means to finally unlock the potential again. The club’s management responds with demonstrative composure although qualifying for the Champions League is the minimum goal for this team so as to not fall behind its own financial and sports-related standards. The only thing that would help also seems to be a victory against the uncomfortable opponent from Leipzig.

The result

The poignancy of the top-level game between RB Leipzig and BVB on the 25th matchday is very apparent. Both teams have to win. RB Leipzig needs the victory to reinstate peace and quiet in the club and calm down the leaders. BVB needs the win to secure its position as a second force in Germany — despite all the deficits in its play. So, what is going to happen? It will be a fantastic soccer night at the end of which both teams will bid farewell to each other with a draw … and FC Bayern will continue its unstoppable march through the rest of the Bundesliga. Hopefully, next season will be better!

Read also from Henning Zülch in sport1 about the competitive capacity of FC Bayern (in German)