The dust has finally settled on a return to the dizzy heights of Division One in the Top 100 world. Clinching the title on the final day was not what we had in mind, the nail biting, the nervousness and then finally the ecstasy of seeing off a fantastic challenge from Rob Ryan’s Napoli.
I took over a Dortmund side at the tail end of Season 1 and could not save them from relegation after younger Broon had left the team in turmoil with under achieving, unfit and players lacking confidence. The side needed guidance and a change of direction, plus changes to personnel ahead of a season with one aim to return to Division 1. Most deals were done before the end of season 1 with Domenico Berardi, Benedikt Howedes, and Mario Fernandes all arriving, deals for Emre Can and David Alaba were done during season 2 both players have now left for pastures new.
The season start went superbly well with Dortmund going 11 games unbeaten, with 10 wins and 1 draw before being defeated by Schalke 2-1 and then by Roma. Schalke had equally started the season in impressive form with Sameer doing a sterling job in revamping the team and their fortunes. Early exits in the Cup and Shield to Southampton and Arsenal showed the squad lacked a bit of strength, but in the youth cup an unexperienced bunch were doing well in the group stages and qualified in 2nd spot behind Manchester United before Atletico Madrid brought an abrupt end in the knock stages beating us 4-1.
Like any other sides Dortmund suffered their set-backs but always bounced back in impressive style like any good side, but some periods of real patchy form was hitting their title charge. Schalke who were overturned 3-0 in perhaps their best performance of the season were also dogged by indifferent form and it was the charge of Rob Ryan’s Napoli scoring goals for fun and winning games with regularity.
Dortmund had also entered the regional cup and had seen off all comers before meeting Bayern in an expected two legged final. Dortmund lost the home leg 2-1 and drew 1-1 in the return away leg. Despite running Bayern close in an even two legged final they could not come back after the home leg defeat.
With 2 games to play the gap had got down to 1 point between ourselves and Napoli, with the big head to head match at Signal Iduna Park. Napoli went into a 2 goal lead and the title dream looked in jeopardy but goals from Berardi and sub Batshuayi secured a precious point and kept us top with Monchengladbach away to play in the last game.
Napoli faced Boca at home in their last game with 3 points a certainty and they comfortable ran out 3-0 winners. Dortmund meanwhile went ahead early through Luca Modric but a goal from Mandzukic close to half time brought the hosts level and Napoli were top with 45 minutes to play. As the second half drifted the mid-point Kevin Kampl scored a precious goal and 10 minutes later Neven Subtoic put the icing on the cake and more breathing space. Dortmund held on for a 3-1 win and the title was theirs, the players down on their feet and manager Lee Reynolds had pulled off what he, the fans, the board and the players wanted a return to Division One football.
There were many stars in this campaign, Carlos Vela with 20 goals, Luca Modric with 16 assists, Neven Subotic with his steady form at the back, Arda Turan with 15 goals and Yaya Toure with his explosive midfield presence. Here are my top 3
3- Ardan Turan. Great season as part of a front 3 mostly on the left but sometimes on the right. With 15 goals and 8 assists a fantastic return.
2- Carlos Vela. 20 goals, 7 assists and 9 MOM unlucky to miss out. His goals vital especially as being the main hit man.
1-Luca Modric. Great driving force from Midfield playing in all bar 1 game. 8 goals and 16 assists show how much of a vital part of this team he is. Boss Reynolds “called him the first name on the team sheet”.
The last week or so has seen a surge in the transfer market for boss Reynolds. Dubbed “no deals Reynolds” by Beddows this is certainly far from the truth.
Marco Reus from Barcelona in exchange for David Alaba
Jesper Cillesen and Davie Selke both move from Juventus in exchange for Michy Batshuayi
Matthias Ginter moves from Tottenham in exchange for Kevin Kampl
Jonas Hector arrives from Cologne in exchange for Roman Eremenko and Robert Bauer
Loureiro Allan and Josip Brekalo arrive from Napoli in exchange for Arda Turan
Alexi Vidal and Patrick Pflucke arrive from Valencia in exchange for Yaya Toure
John Terry and Roman Weidenfeller completed moves to Hertha and Besiktas respectively.
Expectations for the new campaign are to qualify for an SMFA competition, go further in the youth cup and win the regional cup.
And finally about me…….
Born and bred in Peterborough I live here with my fiancée Sarah and my 8 year old Darcy. I have just turned 40 and I have been with my partner for 15 years now. I work locally for a finance company as a credit controller.
My little girl Darcy has cerebral palsy albeit in a mild form, she suffers with muscle stiffness which results in regular physio/exercises at home and school, regular hospital appointments and she had a hip operation last September. She can walk but suffers with tiredness and falling so we have to have a wheelchair. She is a touch cookie and yes it is hard but life must go on and one thing it has not affected, is her ability to learn and do well at school.
I am a big Peterborough United fan and season ticket holder supporting the club since around 1989. I tend to only do home games these days unless a big one comes along but in the past have done a number of away fixtures too. Other interests include other sports such as cricket, snooker, pool and darts, plus music. My favorite bands are Ocean Colour Scene, Oasis, Madness, Beatles and Stereophonics.
In the last 18 months I have took up running rather playing football which I did 3-4 times a week in my younger days. I completed the Great Eastern half marathon, the half mucker Rat Race at Burghley House Stamford and a local 10km Insane Terrain all last year. Not so daring this year my aim is to complete the Great Eastern half marathon again and try and beat my time of just under 1hr 50 mins.
Well that’s me and ciao for now and good luck to all ahead of season 3 in Top 100.