German giants Borussia Dortmund are looking to break the Premier League stranglehold on tours to Australia by descending Down Under to face A-League opposition in 2020.
A day after announcing an official alliance with ex-NSL powerhouse Club Marconi, the eight-time Bundesliga Champions’ Asia Pacific’s Managing Director Suresh Letchmanan confirmed that Sydney FC were possible opponents later this year.
But with that plan having fallen through the club will redouble their efforts to pencil Australia into their calendar for the middle of 2020.
It’s been a virtual all-English affair in recent years with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal playing showpiece matches in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
Leeds United, pushing strongly for promotion to the Premier League, are due here in July to face Western Sydney Wanderers and possibly Western United.
Now Dortmund, locked in a neck-and-neck title race with Bayern Munich, want a piece of the action.
“There were plans this year to play here but the timing didn’t really work out for us,” Letchmanan told The World Game.
“Now we have a partnership with Club Marconi there is more than a reason to come back and play here.
“Liverpool, of course, have toured here and we still have a very good and sustainable relationship with Jurgen Klopp (former Dortmund coach).
“He has shared his experience here with us, and it was hugely positive.
“Of course, it has be part of our international strategy. We’ve been in Asia for a couple of years and last year the US as well.
“Part of the plan is about when and where we will go to in Australia also.
“We’re keeping all options open and hopefully next year it will be a nice time to come.”
The partnership with Club Marconi is the fifth the Black and Yellows have entered into in Asia after previous accords with clubs in China, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
A three-strong delegation, including former German international Karl Heinz Riedle, sealed the deal over the weekend, with Sydney player agent Buddy Farah acting as a facilitator.
Dortmund, once home to Socceroos Mitch Langerak and Mustafa Amini, will send senior coaches out to mentor their Marconi counterparts and help hone the club’s crop of youngsters, with the best and brightest offered a pathway into the BVB youth academy.
“Marconi (now playing in the NPL) have a great history of developing top players and this partnership is much more than just a marketing strategy,” added Letchmanan.
“It’s about bringing our youth philosophy, which has produced the likes of Mario Gotze, Christian Pulisic, Nuri Sahin, Mats Hummels and Marco Reus, to Australia.
“Hopefully with this partnership we find more players to help develop.
“For us to be in Australia is monumental ... it’s a chance for us to plant our BVB flag and grow more Black and Yellow hearts.
“It’s very much a Premier League world but at the same time we run our own race and as long as the club is successful in the Bundesliga and Champions League then we can resonate that with building our fan base, and we want to grow that here in Australia.”
While Australian-based players lack the grounding and expert coaching on offer in powerhouse nations like Germany, Letchmanan liked what he saw at a number of training sessions involving Marconi juniors on Sunday.
“We’ve been looking at the different age groups and there is so much potential here, the talent pool is amazing,” he said.
“There are some top kids here, they just need some more direction and to be moulded and improved in a certain way, and that’s where we come in.
“Our youth coaches have huge experience and at least UEFA A or pro licenses, and our whole program and infrastructure is geared for success.
“There are no shortcuts and you must go through the program but there will be pathways for some of the kids here to perhaps play in Europe in the future.
“There will be coaches coming here from Dortmund, and we will monitor aggressively the development and performance of the players at Club Marconi and we will want to bring at least three of them (initially) to trial with us in Germany.
“We are also hoping to bring some of the coaches from here to see how we do things at Dortmund
“These are all baby steps to get to where we want to go.”