Head coach Jürgen Klopp took charge of his 273rd competitive match in the home game against SC Freiburg. This put the 47-year-old level with legendary Borussia Dortmund coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, both in terms of Bundesliga games (207) and national and international cup matches (66).
He had been in his job for six years, two months and 13 days, the longest of any BVB head coach. “I still love being here. And I don't get the feeling that others are tired of me.” One reason why Klopp and BVB work so well together is “because I was able to develop here without having to change. And there aren't 20 clubs in the world where you'd say: You absolutely have to go there.”
The Freiburg game turned into a Kagawa homecoming celebration. The prodigal son took control of the game in a team decimated by injury and also scored in the 3-1 home win (other goals by Aubameyang and Ramos). The resigning of the Japanese playmaker was not only a cause for celebration in Dortmund, but also released a wave of euphoria back in his home country. In the first 12 days following his return to BVB, 3,000 Japanese fans bought a black and yellow Kagawa shirt. For Kamo Sport, a Japanese shop specialising in football attire, the Kagawa jersey was in fact the best-selling football shirt of any European club.
Two further breathtaking football evenings followed: 66,000 supporters were on their feet to give the team standing ovations. Despite being weakened by injuries, Borussia steamrolled over Arsenal with goals from Immobile and Aubameyang to kick off their UEFA Champions League campaign with a 2-0 victory. Against VfB Stuttgart, BVB had to come from behind. After going 2-0 down, they managed to pull level through goals by Aubameyang (73) and Immobile (86). In stoppage time Piszczek even had the opportunity to grab the winner, but Rüdiger made a save off the line after his goalkeeper was beaten.
But the injury crisis took its toll and affected the team's table position. In Mainz Borussia had the chance to top the table with a win, but lapses in concentration both at the back and up front (Immobile missing a penalty) led to a 2-0 defeat. It was a similar story in the 2-1 derby defeat in Schalke (BVB's goal scored by Aubameyang). Borussia slipped to 12th in the table, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan suffered a tarsal bone injury that would keep him out for weeks.
Erik Durm signed a contract extension keeping him at the club until June 2019. “Borussia Dortmund has played such an intensive role in my development and that's enabled me to be the player I am today.” Jonas Hofmann was released on loan to 1. FSV Mainz 05 in order to gain match practice. “For me Borussia Dortmund is a matter very close to my heart and the story is far from over.”
In the second half of the friendly against Argentina, five Borussia players were on the pitch for Germany. However, the 4-2 defeat meant that for Erik Durm, Kevin Großkreutz, Matthias Ginter, Marco Reus and Roman Weidenfeller, this was no cause for a black and yellow celebration. Nor for Nuri Sahin, who underwent a knee operation and was set to be out for months. Marco Reus also suffered another injury: in extra time of the Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland (2-1) he landed badly, sustaining partially torn ligaments in his ankle and a sprain of the tarsal ligaments, meaning four weeks of rehab.
Timo Knop from Cologne became Borussia Dortmund's 110,000th member. The 26-year-old was honoured by vice president Gerd Pieper, treasurer Dr. Reinhold Lunow and BVB fan Joachim Król. The increase in capital stock was a great success: in total 24,454,989 new shares were issued at a subscription price of € 4.66 per share. SIGNAL IDUNA and PUMA joined Evonik Industries as strategic partners of BVB.
“When things were going really badly for us in 2005, Signal Iduna was the first company to really commit to Borussia Dortmund”, Hans-Joachim Watzke recalled and called Signal Iduna's involvement in the same breath as Evonik, “which followed shortly thereafter”, as “the first and one of the most enduring cornerstones for everything we achieved in the following years.”