The German Bundesliga starts on August 5, and heinnews is providing extensive coverage in the buildup to the 2011-12 season with a club preview each day. Today is defending champions Borussia Dortmund.

Borussia Dortmund shocked the Bundesliga last season by running away with the title with a group of youngsters who took to heart head coach Jürgen Klopp’s offensive minded strategy. Klopp’s job this season will integrate a couple of important new faces into his system and keep focused his kids – who would love to repeat their title.

Klopp and the bosses at Dortmund recognized very quickly what they had in their young, talented bunch and locked up the few of them who were not signed to long-term deals.

The biggest – and only painful – departure was that of Nuri Sahin, the midfield playmaker ace who had a buyout clause of just 6 million euro and was snatched up by Real Madrid.

But Klopp has actually strengthened his team with the acquisitions of Ilkay Gündogan, Ivan Perisic, Chris Löwe and Moritz Leitner.

Gündogan is the biggest new signee and the player from Nuremberg stresses that he is not a copy of Sahin, who is also a German-Turk from background. Many in fact argue that Gündogan – two years younger than Sahin at just 20 years – is actually further along in his development than Sahin was at the same age.

The Croatian Perisic is an attacking goal-scoring midfielder who is struggling to find his place in the team early on because of his lack of German proficiency. But once the 22-year-old signing from Brugge learns German and gets used to Klopp’s system Perisic will help the attack.

Leitner fits perfectly into the Dortmund mold – young (18 years old), confident and fearless. He was signed by Dortmund from 1860 Munich and loaned to Augsburg and now is ready to help in the midfield while Löwe, a 22-year-old talent from Chemnitz, looks to help the back line.

Klopp apparently will have too many to choose from in the midfield as Japanese sensation Shinji Kawaga is back to fitness after his broken foot cut short his amazing first campaign in the Bundesliga.

And Dortmund still have its core of Mario Götze, Kevin Großkreutz, Lucas Barrios, Sven Bender, Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and Marcel Schmelzer.

One fascinating aspect of the early season will be how Klopp’s kids deal with the bright lights of playing in the Champions League after being a bit unlucky in bowing out of the Europa League last season.

Dortmund will not just roll over and hand Bayern the title. But Klopp must avoid a sophomore slump for many of his youngsters.

 

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