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For decades, Bayern Munich have held the standard high for the Bundesliga in the Champions League. Only intermittently have other clubs, like Gladbach and Hamburg in the 1970s and 1980s, and Dortmund in the late 1990s, proven worthy alternatives.
Having just one strong team does not speak well for a league. But Dortmund's progress to the Champions League semifinals this season has given hope that there is a second German power emerging.
Goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller is the only BVB starter over the age 27, and the club managed to extend the contracts of all its stars—Robert Lewandowski aside—past 2014. Ilkay Gundogan is the only key player with a deal set to expire in 2015, and he recently expressed that he is open to signing an extension.
One thing is clear: this Dortmund team is not going away anytime soon. Their greatest stars, Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels, have long been known by Europe's top clubs, but BVB have resisted all approaches and instead extended contracts with both.
And while Nuri Sahin and Shinji Kagawa (who were both entering the last year of their respective contracts) were sold, the club found more-than-capable replacements in the form of Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus, respectively. If Lewandowski leaves this summer or the next, expect a very formidable signing to replace him.
BVB are on the right track in terms of squad development and maintenance. The players are young and the majority have long-term contracts. The club will invest significantly in the summer, according to CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, and the addition of depth will be a big bonus to their Bundesliga aspirations.
In terms of sporting results, the domestic title may be lost, but a probable second-placed finish is not a disaster, especially given that it comes with at least a semifinals position in the Champions League.
In terms of finances, things have never been better for BVB, who earned a net profit of €14.2 million and record revenue of €124.1 million over the second half of 2012. Equal success in the first half of 2013 would put BVB's total revenue for the season slightly short of Milan's 2011-12 tally of €256.9 million.
The Rossoneri were Europe's eighth-wealthiest club last year in terms of sales. However, BVB's profit is second only to Arsenal among Champions League clubs.
Dortmund aren't just the flavor of the week, they're here to stay. Their squad is young and hasn't been picked apart by bigger clubs, and there is no reason to believe it will be in the future—especially as the club's international profile grows. Financially, they are on a steep upward trajectory, and in terms of sporting success, they're one of the top four clubs in Europe. Everything about Dortmund is healthy: they're here to stay.