Borussia Dortmund - chances to establish as a big soccer club. 

October, 12 2012

In current football participating in the very lucrative Champions League seems to have become of essential importance for establishing as a big soccer club.

On the one hand Champions League brings tremendous extra money from premiums, market pool and matchday revenue, on the other hand enduring success in this prestigious competition will very much stimulate other sources of income.

We postulate four phenomena, which are likely even to intensify.

  1. Clubs being successful in Champions League over the years have improved their chance to stay on top, since they will become increasingly competitive.

  2. Once big clubs from the big countries have established and therefore predominantly qualify for available Champions League spots, it will become more and more difficult for national competitors to catch up on them.

  3. Thus for big clubs of smaller soccer countries (such as for example Ajax, Porto, Benfica, Celtic, Glasgow Rangers) it will also become increasingly difficult to compete with their competitors from 5 main soccer countries.

  4. And therefore biggest clubs from these dominating soccer countries have best chances to emerge as "big untouchables".

Into this we enforced a small inquiry as we simply counted the number of semifinalists for the 12 seasons 2001 through 2012. Then splitted data into two partitions, 2001 through 2006 and 2007 through 2012.

Power concentration at fewer clubs and fewer countries.

UEFA organizes 53 countries, but in that context it is remarkable that in the 2007-2012 timeframe 24 out of 24 qualifies for semifinals of Champions league were from the top 5 countries:

England very much dominated European football, since it managed an astonishing 46% of all qualifies.

Spain remained constantly strong at also impressive 30% of all semi-finalists and Germany slightly improved from 2 to three semi-finalists.

Italian club football however went from 21% to just 8% of alle semi-finalist which clearly demonstrated some loss off terrain.
During 2010/11 season Italy indeed lost its third spot in UEFA country ranking to Germany. As a consequence from this 2012/13 season onwards, one fixed Champions League spot went from Italy to Germany.

In current 2012/2013 season Germany is already about 14 points ahead of Italy and is very much catching up on traditional leaders Spain and England.

Spread amongst clubs.

Remarkable enough, in just 6 years spread of qualifying clubs reduced from 18 to 11 as can be seen in above table.

Since especially England increasingly dominated European football, it seems weird that nevertheless less different clubs from this country qualified for semifinals. On this parameter, however managing an impressive increase of qualifies from 6 tot 11 (which was 46% of all qualifies), the number of different clubs that qualified for England still decreased from 5 to 4 clubs!

Power concentration at fewer clubs however developed most remarkably in Spain since Spanish number of different qualifiers reduced from 5 to just 2! It is obvious that in recent years Spanish football has been extremely dominated by Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Concentration of power at fewer clubs of course bears the risk that such competitions are developing less attractive for international marketing of TV-rights.

The opposite seems true for Germany. It improved from 1 to 2 different semi-finalists and in 12/13 edition of Champions League the three German competitors are impressively in their groups. In addition the four German teams in Euroleague competiton demonstrate German progress in European football. In 12/13 season in fact Germany now is leading country ranking before Spain and England.

Dortmund prospects

In our view to be able to also become dominant in European football requires :

  1. to be part of one of the five major soccer leagues, and
  2. then of course establishing there as a dominant club.
Therefore we elaborated on the chance to establish as such.
We made a quantitative approach on most likely candidates in the big leagues to stay/emerge as dominant, see Table below.


First we selected clubs that seem to have established as very dominant in their own league, and thus will most likely qualify for next editions of Champions league (row C).

Then we labeled an average chance for these selected clubs to stay on top (row D).

Since having selected three clubs for England (for only four CL-spots), it is obvious that the average chance for Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea is much lower than for Bayern Munich.

Being the only dominant team in a strong German League gives Bayern Munich clearly a much better chance to stay were it is.

We believe our French candidates have lowest chance (70%), since France has only three CL-spots and French competition traditionally is very unpredictable.

Next we tried to label the runners up we feel have the best chance to establish as a dominant club in their league and new qualifications for Champions League (row E).

Then, in order being able to calculate an average chance for each runner up (row F), we first had to quantify the chance that some other club will emerge (row G).

In England in our opinion this chance is much lower than in Germany and France (20% versus 50% respectively). Keep in mind that we all together selected 7 clubs from England, only 5 from Germany.

Finally we were able to calculate the chance for selected runners up to establish (row F). It is to note these are average chances.
Our German runners up now seem to have a by far better chance to establish as a dominating club (average 64%) than for example our selected French candidates (average 45%).
This however is logical, since Bundesliga clubs have the big advantage that still only Bayern Munich has established as a "big untouchable" (and therefore was labeled a chance of 95%).

German average for runners up of 64% will split up about 80%/75%/70%/30% over Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke 04 and Borussia München Gladbach.


Finally reaching conclusions for Borussia Dortmund, this soccer club now is in our view splendidly positioned to establish in top of German football.
And given the emerging power of Bundesliga in general, therefore almost automatically will be able to establish in top of European football.

Of course Borussia Dortmund in current edition of Champions League "group of death" very much underlines its competitive edge.

PG, October, 12 2012