Who Should Replace Sebastian Kehl as Borussia Dortmund Captain?
Borussia Dortmund will have a new captain this season, following 34-year-old midfielder Sebastian Kehl's decision to step down from the post for his final season at the Bundesliga club.
This now means that coach Jurgen Klopp will be forced to pick a new leader among his title-contending squad and award them the great honour of becoming the new captain of Dortmund.
Kehl, who joined the club at the age of 20, has played over 250 league matches for Dortmund and was universally respected at the Westfalenstadion and across the league as one of the few players to have stuck by the Bundesliga side through their financial troubles a decade ago.
So who does Klopp pick as his new captain for the coming season? Here are a few of our top selections from amongst the current squad.
Few players at Dortmund these days characterise the team under Klopp quite as well as central defender Mats Hummels.
Although the current victim of wild speculation, linking him to clubs all over Europe, Hummels has made absolutely no effort to leave Dortmund and seems perfectly content at the Bundesliga club.
Famously coming through the ranks at Bayern Munich as a boy, the German international found a new home at Dortmund under Klopp in 2008 and has since proved himself as a valiant servant to the club.
At the heart of every team in recent seasons, this player would make a perfect captain for Dortmund in the years to come.
As a player who once likened himself to a fine bottle of red wine that keeps getting better with age, Roman Weidenfeller continues to stand as the proud stick in the mud of this youthful, ambitious side.
At 34 years old, this goalkeeper is undoubtedly the most experienced and proven player in Klopp's current side and would be perfectly suited to leading his team out in the Bundesliga and Champions League for the foreseeable future.
In many ways Weidenfeller is already the leader within this squad. Commanding from his penalty box, he's often seen screaming at the defence and any slacking midfielder to make sure they cover their ground and keep on top of their game.
Handing him the captain's armband would change very little, but it would confirm his role as the coach's right-hand man.
Like some sort of black-and-yellow prodigal son, Nuri Sahin has travelled off to distant lands, had his taste of Galacticos football and returned with a humbled expression on his face to the feet of Klopp.
Some Dortmund fans may still begrudge him ever thinking he was better than the club in the first place, but few could now argue that he doesn't give absolutely everything for his team in each game.
Sahin is still undoubtedly a fantastic player, and now that he's gotten over his bad experience of playing abroad, he looks set to commit himself to the club.
So why not give this Dortmund prodigy another chance and allow him to wear the greatest honour the club could offer?
The 25-year-old is only now approaching his prime and will go on to become an even more necessary cog in the Klopp machine. Making him captain will only confirm this and allow him to go about his task with an immeasurable amount of pride.
If Klopp wants to keep a hold of Marco Reus then he should make him the captain of his new-look Dortmund side.
Although we've seen attempts like this in the past, where a manager makes the star player his captain in the hope of taming any ambitions of pastures new—yes we're looking at you Cesc Fabregas and Wayne Rooney—yet there would be a genuine case for making this German international the captain of his side.
The most obvious of these is the simple fact that Dortmund have often looked like a one-man team when Reus is on his game. Quite simply, without a fully fit Ilkay Gundogan, no player in this team comes close to the talent that the former Dortmund youth player has.
Make him the Dortmund captain, show him that he's the most important player at the club and then watch as he makes it his own.
Mats Hummels may be Klopp's fashionable defender, Reus may be his star player, but only one man in this current team characterises Dortmund as a club. That man is Kevin Grosskreutz: the man who should be the new captain of this famous Bundesliga club.
Now, Grosskreutz is anything but a first-team regular under Klopp. Originally a player who broke through as a winger, the German international now tends to play as a make-shift full-back under the current regime, but that shouldn't really matter.
The former captain hadn't been a key player for the club for a number of years, yet what he meant to the fans and what he provided in support and morale in the dressing room meant that he was more than deserving of the armband.
Grosskreutz is the natural heir to Kehl's legacy and therefore should be the captain, despite not being a first-team starter.