Borussia Dortmund: where dreams are made or a glorified feeder club? | Jonathan Liew

The Bundesliga side’s recruitment policy is held up as a model – but they have won only one trophy since 2012

The chase begins frighteningly early. Often years in advance and usually when the object is still a child. Jude Bellingham and Gio Reyna were scouted at 14. Erling Braut Haaland first appeared on the radar in 2016, more than three years before he signed. Age-group games are surreptitiously attended. Targets are identified with surgical precision. Next: the charm offensive.

Introductions are made. Interest is subtly registered with parents and agent. Replica kits and club merchandise start arriving in the post. The prospective player is invited to Germany to watch a game in front of the heaving, haunting roar of the Yellow Wall (pandemic permitting). No gaudy blandishments; no super-yachts; no suitcases full of cash. As the sporting director, Michael Zorc, likes to put it, Borussia Dortmund don’t need to make grand promises to their teenage hopefuls. They just point to the team sheet.

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