Borussia Dortmund continue to look towards ASEAN potential

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Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Borussia Dortmund will continue to look towards Southeast Asia as a region of “untapped potential” after recently completing a partnership with Thai giants Buriram United.

Dortmund, one of the biggest clubs not just in the German Bundesliga but across Europe, have long been lauded for their ability to develop and nurture youngsters in world-class footballers.

Mario Gotze and Shinji Kagawa are just some of their current stars to have spent a crucial period of their formative years learning their trade at Signal Iduna Park before going on to achieve plenty, while Christian Pulisic – who has already sealed a €64million move to Chelsea – and Jadon Sancho are two of the more-recent starlets who seem destined for great things.

Dortmund have also ventured into Southeast Asia and, having already inked partnerships with Johor Darul Ta’zim (Malaysia) and Warriors FC (Singapore), officially tied themselves to reigning Thai League 1 champions Buriram back in November.

The deal was marked by a friendly match between legends from both sides at the Chang Arena and promises to be the start of a mutually beneficial cooperation.

“Our partnership with Buriram United reflects our belief that both clubs can work together and continue to grow both on and off the field,” said Suresh Letchmanan, Dortmund’s managing director for Asia.

“Buriram United, like BVB, are leaders in the field, renowned for their proud history, strong sense of community and relentless pursuit of excellence.

“Both teams also have a similar philosophy in development as far as the use of technology, sports science and management in their youth programs goes, while also working hard with their local communities to promote the clubs’ values by trying to play attractive open and attacking football.”

Although Southeast Asia currently lags behind the likes of Japan, Iran, Korea Republic and Saudi Arabia on the continental stage, forward strides have been made in past years with a host of Thai players earning transfers to Europe and Japan, while Vietnam’s outstanding prospect Nguyen Quang Hai has been tipped for a big move abroad.

Describing the ASEAN region as brimming with “so much untapped potential”, Suresh believes Dortmund can play a key role in providing a pathway for the best Buriram prospects to realise their dream of making it big as a footballer.

“The clubs will work together to develop players at youth level,” he explained.

“Starting from Under-9 level and going up to the Under-19s, the clubs will discuss ways to develop youth players and give them the opportunity to press for places in the senior teams.

“With this deal in place, young players from Buriram United will also have the opportunity to become involved in exchange programs and experience life at a top, professional European club.”

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นาทีที่ 11 สุเชาว์ ขึ้นเกมทางฝั่งซ้าย จ่ายตัดเข้ากลางให้ รังสรรค์ แทงเข้าในถึง กีรติ พลิกตัวจะยิง แต่โดนผู้เล่น โบรุสเซีย ดอร์ทมุนด์ สกัดทิ้งออกมาทางฝั่งขวา วีรยุทธ เติมเกมขึ้นมา เก็บบอลได้ แล้วเปิดยัดเข้าไปหน้าประตู พิพัฒน์ โฉบยิงเข้าประตูไป บุรีรัมย์ ยูไนเต็ด โอจี ได้ประตูขึ้นนำไปก่อน 1-0 ประตู . หลังจากนั้น นาทีที่ 17 ทีมเยือนมายิงตีเสมอได้ จาก เอเวอร์ธอน ทำให้หมดเวลาการแข่งขัน ทีมอดีตนักเตะบุรีรัมย์ เสมอ ทีมตำนานดอร์ทมุนด์ สุดมันส์ 1-1 ประตู พร้อมอิ่มบุญกับยอดบริจาคเงินทั้งหมด 242,310 บาท ซึ่งได้มอบให้กับโรงพยาบาลบุรีรัมย์เป็นที่เรียบร้อย . 11’ Suchao leads the attack from the left side of the goal before cutting the ball to Rangsan in the middle of the field. Rangsan with the through ball to Kirati for a quick turn and shoot but the shot is blocked by a Dortmund Legends. The ball is cleared to the righ side of the field. Weerayut collects the ball and launches a low cross to the front post where Pipat swoops infront of the Dortmund defender and nips the ball passes the keeper. Buriram United OG takes the lead 1-0 . 17’ Ewerthon equalizes for the away team and the game ends with a 1-1 draw between Buriram United OG and Dortmund Legends. Total amount of donations collected and delivered to Buriram Hospital at this fantastic event is totalled at 242,310 Baht . . . . . #BuriramUnited #BRUTD #BorussiaDortmund #BVB #ReturnOfTheLegends #GU12

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In Japan international Kagawa, Dortmund have been associated with one of Asia’s biggest stars of the past decade.

But could it be a matter of time before a Buriram starlet graces the Bundesliga in black and yellow?

“Yes,” Suresh replied, when asked if he could foresee a Thai being good enough to play for Dortmund. “Thailand is the current regional leader with regards to youth development.

“Definitely, [it could happen] within the next few years or maybe in the next generation.”