As the curtain falls on another season of the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund have assured qualification for next year’s Champions League. They are also through to the final of the DFB-Pokal and are favourites to bring their title drought to an end against Eintracht Frankfurt.
They also have put the April 11 attempted assassination behind them as Marc Bartra makes a return to the match day squad. However, not all is rosy for the Black and Yellows, as reports have come to surface of a rift between manager Thomas Tuchel and the Dortmund board.
While the team has responded admirably to the aforementioned assassination attempt, it seems that the repercussions of the attack are still being felt within the organization’s structure. It has been reported that the dissent between Thomas Tuchel and the Dortmund board was due to the handling of external communication during the attack.
The club itself has not been shy about mentioning the row between coaching staff and management to the media, with CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke telling German media outlet Funke Media about the “disagreements” between Thomas Tuchel and the club hierarchy. For his part, Tuchel has mentioned that the past few weeks have not been easy, and that a conversation to clear the air between himself and Watzke has yet to take place.
The relationship between the current manager and the Dortmund board is a complete contrast to the relationship between the board and the previous manager, Jurgen Klopp, whom was universally loved both within and outside of the club. Tuchel was supposed to be the man to guide Borussia Dortmund through its current transitional period in the post-Klopp era.
While Tuchel has yet to bring silverware to the club, which he can still achieve before the end of the season. He has maintained Dortmund as a force in European football, this point illustrated by beating German giants Bayern Munich twice this season, exceeding expectations to make the quarterfinals of the Champions League, and ensuring they keep their place in the European competition for the following season.
As a manager, Tuchel has done extremely well in assimilating his young talent into the team. Similar to how Klopp used young talent to great success during his golden years at BVB, Tuchel has made Ousmane Dembele, Julian Weigl and Christian Pulisic key figures for the club during the season. All this while losing the spine of the team in Mats Hummels, Illkay Gundogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan during summer 2016.
This season was supposed to be the end of the transition period, as Tuchel would have a team built around the players that he wanted, playing different formations and tactics from those employed by his predecessor. However, if reports are to be believed that Tuchel might be on his way out of BVB due to the disagreements between himself and the club’s board, the transition period might just be getting started all over again.
For now, the club hierarchy and Tuchel have agreed to wait until the end of the season until they have a talk. What was expected to be a talk about a possible contract extension might have now turned into a final meeting between manager and board.
The future for Dortmund looks uncertain. Not only might the club be on the market for a new manager during the summer, but rumours of main striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving over the summer are still swirling.
The other young players on the team might also be put off if the manager that has put faith in them leaves abruptly. Once summer passes, we will have a much clearer picture for assessing Dortmund. The team will either continue in the post-Klopp era with Tuchel at its helm, or the transition period will be further prolonged for years to come.