The past decade was one filled with its ups and downs for one of Germany’s most beloved clubs. Picking the best starting eleven of all the amazing players that have donned the black and yellow shirt from 2010 to 2019 is quite difficult. In every position, there are at least two players to choose from. Here is Borussia Dortmund’s team of the decade.
Borussia Dortmund: Team of the Decade
Manager: Jürgen Klopp
Many of the positions on Dortmund’s team of the decade will be clear shoo-ins’, and choosing Jürgen Klopp as the manager might be the most obvious. The former Mainz 05 manager joined the Black and Yellows in 2008, just three years after Dortmund narrowly avoided bankruptcy. Klopp’s first two seasons in charge of Dortmund were periods of rebuilding, and that is exactly what he did.
During his time at the club, Klopp won two Bundesliga titles, one DFB-Pokal, two DFL-Supercups and came runner up in the UEFA Champions League.
Team of the Decade Formation: 4-3-3.
Goalkeeper: Roman Weidenfeller
No disrespect to Roman Bürki, but Roman Weidenfeller is an absolute Dortmund legend. The goalkeeper made 349 appearances over his 16 years at the club, winning the Bundesliga in 2011, the domestic double in 2012, and making it all the way to the Champions League Final in 2013. Weidenfeller missed just three matches from 2010 to 2012. Bürki took over the number one spot in 2015, demoting the Dortmund legend to the bench. Weidenfeller retired in 2018.
Right Back: Lukasz Piszczek
After a three year stint at Hertha Berlin, Lukasz Piszczek moved to Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer in the 2010 summer transfer window. The young Pole solidified his position as Jürgen Klopp’s right back. Until 2018, his position in Dortmund’s side was unquestioned, but that changed with the arrival of the pacey Achraf Hakimi in 2018. In total, Piszczek has made 244 appearances for Borussia Dortmund.
Center Back: Matts Hummels
This is where things become slightly awkward, as we now get to the first of the three Dortmund players that moved to FC Bayern München. Mats Hummels joined Bayern’s academy when he was just six years old, but made just one first-team appearance before moving to Borussia Dortmund in 2009. Under Klopp, he came into his own. Hummels missed just three matches during the two Meisterschale winning seasons from 2010 to 2012, while playing a pivotal role in reaching the Champions League Final in 2013.
In 2014, Hummels became captain, but in 2016, he made the controversial decision to return to Bayern. While Hummels’ reasoning, going home to Munich and returning to his boyhood club, was understandable, the decision put a stake through the hearts of Dortmund fans. Despite the move, Hummels is unquestionably Dortmund’s best centre back of the decade.
Center Back: Neven Subotić
While Hummels was the star central defender at Dortmund, earning all of the plaudits, Neven Subotić was always by his side during the club’s golden years. The partnership formed between the two was legendary, helping Dortmund to an undefeated rückrunde of the title-winning 2011/12 league campaign. Hummels is good with the ball at his feet, while Subotić is a warrior who never backs out of a challenge. The two made one of the best centre back partnerships in Bundesliga history.
Left Back: Marcel Schmelzer
Dortmund’s back four from 2010 until 2015 was amazing, making it is almost impossible not to put Marcel Schmelzer, a product of Dortmund’s academy, at left-back. Schmelzer is the final piece of the defensive wall that made the glory years under Klopp possible. In the 2010/11 title-winning season, the German did not miss a single minute of league play. While Raphaël Guerreiro has kept the former captain on the bench, Schmelzer’s service to Borussia Dortmund from 2010 to 2015 was stellar.
Midfield: Sven Bender
Every title-winning side needs a midfielder that is willing to do the dirty work. Sven Bender was exactly that, acting as the first line of defence for Hummels and Subotić. The German midfielder was a crucial part of the two title-winning sides and Dortmund’s improbable run to the Champions League Final in 2013. Although Nuri Sahin was the star in 2010/11, he immediately left for Real Madrid in the summer. Axel Witsel was also considered, but Bender was a key component of two title-winning seasons.
Midfield: İlkay Gündoğan
İlkay Gündoğan is the definition of a classy midfielder. The German international’s touch, vision, and passing ability are why Pep Guardiola rates him so highly. Gündoğan joined Dortmund in 2011, playing a crucial role in the 2011/12 title, and netting the equaliser against Bayern in the 2013 Champions League Final. Injury problems hampered his final seasons at the Signal-Iduna Park, but Gündoğan’s sheer ability guarantee him a spot in the decade eleven, even over the likes of Sahin or Witsel.
Midfield: Shinji Kagawa
While his career faltered after a 2013 move to Manchester United, people often forget just how good Shinji Kagawa was from 2010 to 2012. He scored goal after goal in the league and netted the opener in Dortmund’s five-goal thrashing of Bayern in the 2012 DFB Pokal Final. It might be controversial, but Kagawa gets the nod over Mario Götze, simply down to preference. Götze’s move to Bayern, a decision which truly harmed German football as it jump-started Bayern’s complete and utter domination of the Bundesliga, is unforgivable.
Right Wing: Marco Reus
Marco Reus is the first player in the team of the decade that did not lift the Meisterschale with Dortmund, but his inclusion comes at no surprise. While he struggled with injuries, Reus is simply a world-class player. He has been incredibly unlucky throughout his career, missing the 2014 world cup and not winning the league with Dortmund. Reus’ loyalty to the black and yellows, however, something that not many Dortmund stars have shown, makes him a true legend.
Left-Wing: Jadon Sancho
Here is where many will disagree. Where is Jakub Błaszczykowski or Kevin Großkreutz, true Dortmund legends who played pivotal roles in winning those two league titles? Well, Jadon Sancho is not only more skilful than both, but more effective, and is well on course to becoming one of Europe’s best players. His performances last season were absurd. The Englishman scored thirteen and set up nineteen, doing this at the young age of 18-years-old. Dortmund are known for developing young talent, and Sancho might be their best product yet.
Center Forward: Robert Lewandowski
No matter how much the Pole’s move to Bayern hurt, it is impossible to not have Robert Lewandowski in the team of the decade. If anything, his move was not the most painful. That award goes to Mario Götze. Götze is Dortmund born and bred, while Lewandowski has no deep connections to the club, and Hummels could always say he was returning home.
Either way, Lewandowski was a phenomenal servant of the black and yellows. He scored thirty goals in the 2011/12 campaign, including the title-sealing winner against Bayern on matchday 30, and four in the first leg of the 2013 Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.
We cannot forget about the world-class Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the importance that Lucas Barrios played in Dortmund’s 2010/11 title win, scoring sixteen goals. Despite his heartbreaking move to Bayern in 2014, however, Lewandowski is miles ahead of any Dortmund centre forward over the past decade.
Team of the Decade Bench: