Bvb managing director watzke: “take the next step”

Bvb managing director watzke: 'take the next step'

Borussia dortmund enters the new season with a lot of confidence. In an interview with the deutsche presse-agentur, managing director hans-joachim watzke explains why he has set the championship as the season’s goal for the first time in years.

Question: the first duel between the two title favorites, FC bayern and BVB, will take place on saturday. How important is the supercup for you?? Is it a well-paid test or a first gauge for the rest of the season??

Hans-joachim watzke: it’s the most important test of preparation, but also the first compulsory game. Due to the close finish of the two teams in the previous season, the game has naturally taken on a different significance for many german soccer fans. In the past, the stadium was sold out in a week or two. This time it was a few hours. People are eagerly awaiting it. And from what i hear from munich, it’s being taken seriously there, too.

Question: you surprised a lot of fubball fans when you made the championship your goal for the season for the first time in years. How does this new courage?

Watzke: if i wasn’t brave, i would never have taken on the job at BVB in economically difficult times. But it’s not courage when you’re in the 20. If you stand on the roof of a skyscraper and jump off without a jumping board. You must have a platform. And this platform we had now, because we were from last 34 playdays on 21 table leaders and at the end only two points behind the FC bayern were.

Question: did the new acquisitions contribute to the brisker season goal??

Watzke: in connection with the sensible transfers that we have made and for which I have to praise michael zorc very much, we have derived the claim for us that we now want to take the next step. At any rate, we’re trying, and that has to be legitimate. Incidentally, this desire also arose from within the team.

Question: did BVB squander a historic opportunity last year??

Watzke: you’ve lost a historic chance every year if you sniff the title and don’t make it. But if you put that in the context of the past two years and the change in personnel that only began in the summer of 2018, we can be very satisfied with the past season. BVB has won so many titles, the last one in 2017, we will win some again in the future.

Question: as in the previous year, you have spent a lot of money to strengthen the squad. Many interpret this as a crude attack on bayern. Are these people wrong?

Watzke: that’s pure nonsense from a purely economic point of view. We have spent as much money as we will earn in the end. I don’t think we need to invest a lot net at all. We have already made about 100 million with the sale of christian pulisic, abdou diallo and alexander isak. And I predict that it is not the end of the line. That means: at the end of the day, we have mainly reshuffled. Hopefully we’ve managed to improve without spending a lot of money. But we first have to prove it on the pitch – I’m with uli hoeneb on that one.

Question: apropos hoeneb. Actually it was a domane of bavaria to sign german national players. Copy the munich success model?

Watzke: every ambitious club tries to sign german national players. You just have to be able to afford it. And that’s the difference to the past: we can do that today without having to go to the credit department of a bank.

Question: it is the most expensive squad in BVB history. It is also the best?

Watzke: a higher salary volume is not at all out of the question if the salaries increase in every area. Probably 12 to 16 bundesliga clubs have the highest budgets in their history. Whether it is our best squad, I can only tell you after the season. We have already won the champions league and won dozens of championships. This team has not yet reached the level we were at in the mid-90s. But the difference is: we can afford this squad.

Question: it is said that the FC bayern squad is – as of today – less strong than in previous years. Do you share this view?

Watzke: not at all. If i write down the lineup bayern could play with in the coming weeks, it’s a top team. The first 15, 16 players are absolute top level. Not only in germany, but also internationally.

Question: the most dust in this transfer summer so far has been raised by the return of mats hummels from munich to BVB. What made you decide to bring him back??

Watzke: mats had always had the option of returning to BVB. Even then he had a hard time leaving us and going to bayern.

Question: how difficult were the negotiations?? Many people wonder why munich was willing to give hummels to their biggest rival …

Watzke: because the player wanted it so badly. I am very grateful to karl-heinz rummenigge for respecting this firm player will. I found this extraordinary. The way these negotiations went down was an indication to me of how respectful we have become with each other at the highest levels.

Question: BVB has not had perfect experiences with other returnees such as nuri sahin, shinji kagawa and mario gotze in recent years. Don’t they also have the worry with hummels, that it could come similarly?

Watzke: you can’t impose a dogma on yourself. Who says that every return to BVB is a priori nonsense?? Every case is different. Nuri, shinji and mario have had problems fully establishing themselves at their new clubs. Mats was an absolute regular at FC bayern, won three championships in three years there and was recently voted the strongest central defender in the league.

Question: borussia is seen as a club where talents mature. Now BVB seems to be relying more on experience. Is there a change of strategy in transfer policy??

Watzke: not at all. We are just adapting our strategy to our economic possibilities. In the future, we will continue to use two tracks and also continue to sign talented people. But we already have so many first-class talents with a lot of potential. At the end of the day, we have to accept that BVB now has a rough, which means that more is expected of our club than just being one of the best talent hotbeds in europe.

Question: the negotiations with mario gotze have recently been a topic of conversation. The agreement seemed to be only a matter of form, but is still a long time coming. Why?

Watzke: we will talk to each other after the training camp. Then we’ll see in peace whether both sides want to continue working together. We are ready for it. Mario is a player who always enjoys a rough valuation with us. I’m sure that hardly any club has shown more appreciation for a player than we have for mario gotze in his difficult time. But at the end of the day, both sides have to be satisfied with the result of the negotiations.

Question: would it also be an option to let the contract, which is limited until 2020, expire??

Watzke: we do not need to discuss options here. We usually talk openly. And every media statement of mine in advance automatically had an effect on upcoming negotiations.

Question: in connection with gotze, there was discussion about whether BVB didn’t still need a real striker with a high physical presence. Are there such considerations?

Watzke: i will never understand this discussion. We have a great central striker in paco alcacer, and on top of that we have two or three players who can play very well on the nine. Surprisingly, no one is having this discussion in munich, because everyone there knows that they are well positioned with robert lewandowski. The fact that we didn’t win the championship has nothing to do with the fact that we didn’t score enough goals.

Question: reinhard rauball, who is also president of borussia dortmund, is stepping down from his post as league president shortly after a long period of office for reasons of age. How big a part did he play in the bundesliga success story of the past few years??

Watzke: reinhard rauball has had an incredible share of success because he has an extremely high level of integration power. I would venture to predict that it will only be possible to assess what he has really achieved for the DFL in one or two years’ time.

Question: what do you mean by that??

Watzke: i make this forecast very purposefully. Because I’m already noticing that factions are suddenly forming, that those responsible are giving interviews with the aim of setting the clubs against each other. Reinhard rauball will be weeping tears for many years to come. For years, he was a master at balancing interests within professional soccer behind closed doors.

About him: hans-joachim watzke is the managing director of borussia dortmund. The 60-year-old has held this office at the fubball bundesliga club since 2005.

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