Borussia Dortmund are more than "just" football. The heads of the club's various departments shared stories of titles and trophies, while Jakob Scholz from the fan department offered some thoughtful comments. Special recognition was given to Hasan Caglikalp (blind football/torball).
Head of department Wolfgang Springer was able to report that, "after two Covid-related interruptions in the two previous seasons", the 2021/22 season has finally brought some encouraging news, especially about the most senior of the club's youth teams. "To sum up the U19s in a nutshell: you can't get any more successful than this. It's the story of a generation that were slowed down by the Coronavirus, but through constant support and encouragement, they never stopped. The team have appeared in three competitions and have been very successful in all of them." In the UEFA Youth League, they not only made it through the group stage, but also beat FC Empoli and - in a penalty shoot-out - the heavy favourites Manchester United in the knockout rounds. "A U19 team with a lot of heart showed a great performance in the quarter-final against Atletico Madrid, but unfortunately didn't manage to force the ball over the line in front of almost 20,000 fans at Signal Iduna Park. A goal against then unfortunately ended the dream of making it to the Final Four." In the final of the DFB-Pokal, they lost 3-1 to VfB Stuttgart, but "after a perfect season with 20 wins and two draws" they reached the final round of the German Championship, where they knocked out FC Schalke 04 in the semi-finals and beat Hertha BSC 2-1 in the final.
BVB's second oldest youth team, the U17s, finished the season in fourth place in the western division of the U17 Bundesliga, while the U16s gave a good account of themselves in the U17 Westfalenliga, as they had done in the seasons prior to the pandemic. They finished the season in sixth place. The U15s finished second in both the league and the Westphalia-Pokal. "Overall, the 2021/2022 season was a good one for our young footballers," said Springer, who had earlier been honoured for 50 years of club membership.
Head of department Svenja Schlenker looked back on a dream debut season and a strong start to the second one. "The highlight was the promotion play-off to the Bezirksliga against the second string of TV Brechten, the crowning glory was the Kreispokal final against the first team of TV Brechten. This year, in addition to the Kreispokal, we are therefore playing in the Westfalenpokal and, after winning two games, can currently proudly call ourselves quarter-finalists. On behalf of the team, I would like to thank our large group of very devoted fans for their loyalty." A second team has been active since the summer of 2022, and are currently top of the Kreisliga, meaning that currently "46 girls and women proudly wear the Black & Yellow jersey and give their all for Borussia Dortmund week after week". For the 2022/23 season, the club will put out a youth team for the first time, at U17 level.
Rupert Thiele, who has been a member of the department board since November 2021 and has been acting head of the department since the resignation of Andreas Heiermann at the end of October 2022, reported in detail on the incidents surrounding the first team, which led to the departure of head coach André Fuhr. "Our common goal must now be to thoroughly come to terms with the past in order to become better in the future in terms of awareness and prevention," said Thiele, who expressed his sympathy for the players affected.
This meant that the sporting side of things took a back seat: second place in the Bundesliga after winning the title the year before. "The Euroleague adventure starts at the beginning of December. The goal for the current season is to finish second in the league and to qualify for at least the Euroleague again." The second team managed to stay in the third division by finishing sixth. Thiele: "The team did a good job, but had only one adult player in Anne Müller and otherwise consisted exclusively of U19 and U17 youth players.'' This again speaks for the club's outstanding youth work. The U17 team only missed out on the semi-finals of the German Championship because of the away goals rule. And another positive note: "The U11s had to start from scratch, as there was no team in place after the Covid pandemic. But the girls won the local championship straight away. In the meantime, we have a squad of 13 players at U11 level."
"The 2021/22 season was very eventful. In addition to the sporting successes, the 75th anniversary of the department and the end of the 25-year Möllmann era were on the agenda. We celebrated the anniversary with a well-attended friendly match against Europe's best table tennis team, Borussia Düsseldorf, and we celebrated the end of the Möllmann era with goulash soup and cold drinks in Bernd's living room," reported the new head of department, Ursula Reitemeyer: "The election of Bernd Möllmann as BVB's new treasurer and his accompanying resignation as head of department presented us with special challenges. For 25 years, Bernd ensured that Borussia Dortmund was one of the best table tennis clubs in Germany" In her speech, she also gave special thanks to "Udo Lautenschläger, my reliable deputy", sporting director Evgeni Fadeev, and youth director and head coach Wencheng Qi. "Overall, our Bundesliga team had a successful 2021/22 season. After surprisingly leading the league at Christmas, a lengthy injury to our star player Dennis Klein meant we ended up with a respectable fourth place finish." Looking to the current season, she spoke of a team with a balanced line-up from position one to four and announced, "We expect to be in the running for the title." And: "We are not only well-placed in the professional game, but also in the amateur one, as shown by our second straight second- place finish in the German over-40s championship." Arda Yenen, who is only 16 years old, was also runner-up in the deaf category.
Hasan Caglikalp was pleased about the outstanding successes to report: the women's torball team's won another German championship title, the men's team are currently league leaders in the torball Bundesliga, while blind footballers Amire Schwarz and caller Karin Leidecker won the European championship with the German national team. The fledgling department suffered badly from the effects of the Covid pandemic, especially in torball (the sport is played indoors in winter), but is now enjoying a resurgence. Caglikalp reported an "increase in membership to 50 people" as well as a "strengthening of our blind football team with two more international players". The blind footballers finished the season in fourth place and will be the only German team to participate in the newly founded Europa League in 2023.
The fan and support department sees itself as a contact point for those who want to get involved on a voluntary basis. "The best example of this is our most active working group "Uns verbindet Borussia" (Borussia unites us). It primarily deals with social issues for people in our city," Jakob Scholz explained, "and it helps ensure that over 2,400 socially disadvantaged children in Dortmund receive a Christmas present each year. Scholz listed the many different campaigns in the past year, but focused his attention primarily on the values for which football should stand. "With the changing global times and the increasing decoupling of the football business from reality, the responsibility of a major actor, such as BVB, is to take a stand on the world stage and advocate its own values." He and his comrades-in-arms are aware that "a transformation of our club must happen carefully and not at the expense of the stability of the foundation." Nevertheless, he said, the Bundesliga must "put its focus back on the balance, excitement, fascination of national competition and the fans in the stadium. A lively fan culture and vocal and opinionated supporters' terraces have long set the Bundesliga apart from the other leagues in Europe in a positive way and made football appealing to us." In stark contrast to this image is this year's World Cup. Scholz: "It is a manifesto of the greed of the grandees in the football world, and it tramples on everything Borussia Dortmund stands for!" (br)