Borussia Dortmund supporters probably aren’t huge fans of the annual summer transfer window. While, on occasion, BVB are able to lure some top-class talent to the Westfalenstadion during this tense period, for the most part the club is entering into a three-month struggle which sees them endeavour to keep hold of their best players for another season.
Last year we witnessed a perfect example of this, when the club was dealt a heavy blow as Manchester United swooped in for the then-Bundesliga player of the season, Shinji Kagawa.
In the summer of 2013 it appeared that the tormentors of the Die Schwargelben would strike from a little closer to home, with Bayern Munich supposedly lining up a bid for both Mario Goetze and Robert Lewandowski.
Before the end of the 2012-13 season Bayern and BVB had already confirmed that Goetze would swap his yellow jersey for a red the following season, with a move to the European and German champions already being agreed between the two elite sides.
After what seemed like an age, it was also later revealed that Lewandowski would remain at Dortmund for another a year before moving on to Bayern at the end of this year’s campaign.
This news came as a shock to many followers of the league (and football in general). It wasn’t Lewandowski moving to Bayern that caught so many by surprise, but more the fact that we all know so far ahead of time that he will be linking up with one of Dortmund’s greatest rivals.
To put an English swing on things: Imagine if Wayne Rooney had agreed to join Chelsea at the start of the 2014-15 season but still remained at and was a regular starter for Manchester United over the course of this campaign.
Deals like this are almost unheard of in football (particularly among two such elite sides—let’s not forget these were the two outfits which contested the 2013 Champions League final).
However BVB fans are feeling about Lewandowski right now, one thing that is probably troubling most of their minds is the void that the lack of a world-class striker will leave when the Pole does move on.
In truth, when the potential deal is still so far away (with any number of factors over the course of the next year potentially altering things) it is hard to definitively state what will and won't be an issue for the club in the long term.
However, it is this writer's opinion that the dealings of the 2013 summer transfer window may have already cancelled out the loss of Lewandowski.
While neither Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Henrikh Mkhitaryan are technically centre-forwards (some would argue that Aubameyang is a striker, but let’s not get into that debate right now), both players have already shown an uncanny ability to find the back of the net in a Dortmund shirt.
Juergen Klopp has made a name for himself by taking players on the verge of greatness and developing them that little step further into the finished article.
Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan are potentially another two players of this exact ilk.
Both play an incredibly attacking style of football, being able to not only finish chances but also—crucially for a team like Dortmund—create them also.
For a striker like Marvin Ducksch (who at the tender age of 19 is still acquainting himself to first-team football, and with the exit of Lewandowski may suddenly find himself having a bigger role to play), these two fonts of creativity are exactly what the teenager needs to help him bag a few goals and get his Dortmund career well and truly rolling.
Whether Ducksh, Julian Schieber, Aubameyang or even a new signing are eventually chosen to replace Lewandowski in the central attacking role, the support of the BVB midfield is enough to cancel out the loss that the club will face.
And all of this is without even taking into account the talents of Marco Reus, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Sven Bender or Ilkay Gundogan sitting in the midfield.
Is losing Robert Lewandowski going to seriously harm BVB?
Lewandowski is a terrific player and one of the most clinical goalscorers that the Bundesliga has ever seen, but with a midfield like Dortmund’s backing him up, that isn’t really much of surprise.
That’s not to say the Pole doesn’t deserve some solitary credit—he has of course been a transfer target of several top European clubs for a reason—but I think he has to thank the BVB midfield for a lot of his notoriety.
Lewandowski is an important player, and any Dortmund fan kidding themselves into thinking that losing him will mean nothing should perhaps re-evaluate their stance. However, while this is true, ultimately a club with so many creative and lethal goal-scoring midfielders can never truly find itself in trouble (at least, going forward).
The real worry for fans this summer should be maintaining the likes of Reus, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan if they wish to continue to excel in the German top flight.