Wednesday, June 19, 2024
HomeChampions LeagueDortmund fill villain role ahead of Champions League final with unconscionable move

Dortmund fill villain role ahead of Champions League final with unconscionable move

Borussia Dortmund head into Saturday’s Uefa Champions League final against Real Madrid as the clear underdogs and, until this week, were every neutral’s preferred winner.

Los Blancos have held an iron grip on the trophy over the past decade, winning the trophy five times. They are seeking to lift ol’ big ears for the 15th time in their history.

There is a feeling of inevitability when it comes to Madrid and this competition. Even when they are not considered the best team in the world, or even the favourites heading into the final, as was the case in 2022, they somehow come out on top. They haven’t lost a decider since 1981.

 

It’s only natural that onlookers wish to see someone take them down a peg, especially when it’s an unfancied side like Dortmund. Die Schwarzgelben, who finished fifth in the Bundesliga this season, defied the odds just to reach the showpiece event in Wembley.

Who wouldn’t want to see them win the Champions League for just the second time in their history? Well, just about everyone after the events that transpired this week.

Just days out from their single biggest game in 11 years, the club announced a new commercial partnership with weapons manufacturer Rheinmetall.

“Security and defense are elementary pillars of our democracy, so we think it’s the right decision to see how we can protect these pillars,” said BVB chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke in a club statement entitled “taking responsibility”.

It is an unprecedented deal that will see Dortmund rake in between €7 and €9 million per year. There have been many a controversial sponsorship deal in football over the years, but no major club has ever linked arms (pun unintended) with an arms dealer, to this writer’s knowledge anyway.

The announcement has been roundly criticised from all quarters, including their own supporters. The company is not just involved in beefing up Germany’s national defence, but provides weapons to nations involved in conflicts around the world through its subsidiaries.

 

As per DW: “In 2016, weapons used by a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen resulted in six members of the Husni family being killed in an attack called “unlawful” by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR). According to the organization, bomb remnants found at the site of the attack confirmed that they were manufactured by Rheinmetall’s subsidiary RWM Italia.”

The German government also recently approved a delivery of Rheinmetall ammunition to Israel as they commit genocide in Gaza, where the death toll has risen to over 36,000 since October 7th, although that number is widely believed to be undercounted.

Rheinmetall won’t appear on the famous black and yellow shirts, although they will have a presence around the Westfalenstadion and the club’s training ground. The Düsseldorf-based firm will benefit from Dortmund’s appearance in the Champions League final, as they seek to sports wash their image via the biggest game in club football.

 

In the past Dortmund have positioned themselves as a club with values worth supporting, but they sold their soul to the highest bidder. If, or rather when, one of Rheinmetall’s ‘products’ is used to kill innocent civilians and maim children, BVB will be seen as contemptible enablers. Is this that football clubs are meant to represent?

Borussia Dortmund have tarnished their once-fashionable image and, in many people’s eyes, become the villains ahead of facing Real Madrid. That takes some doing.

Read – Five who played for both Real Madrid and Dortmund

See Also – Every Champions League final held at Wembley

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