Borussia Dortmund follows other European giants in entering women's game

There was big news out of Germany this week with the announcement that Borussia Dortmund will launch of a women's team.

Dortmund will start at the bottom, entering at the Kreisliga B level, the eighth tier of German women's soccer. Its goal: make it to the Frauen-Bundesliga in 10 years.

Borussia Dortmund's move to form women's team is significant in that it is the last of the 16 top European clubs to start a women's team.

Five of the eight clubs in the UEFA Women's Champions League's Final 8 were also in the men's Final 8: Lyon, Paris St. Germain, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Dortmund is following the example of Ruhr Valley neighbor and archrival Schalke 04, which is entering a U-17 team in the Kreisliga B this season. In each following season, Schalke will add another youth team from the U-15s downwards to populate its women's program.

Other major clubs are moving into women's soccer by buying out established women's programs:

Eintracht Frankfurt. FFC Frankfurt, the last women's club to win the UEFA Champions League when it beat Paris St. Germain in the 2015 final, has been absorbed by Eintracht Frankfurt, one of the founding members of the men's Bundesliga. FFC Frankfurt won seven league, nine cup and four European titles but saw the writing on the wall as top men's clubs in England, France and Spain become investing in their women's divisions. The Frankfurt goalkeeper is American Bryane Heaberlin.

SA Confidential: American goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin on playing for Frankfurt in Frauen-Bundesliga

Leicester City. The Foxes have taken over Leicester City Women’s Football Club and made its players, manager and general manager full-time employees. The women's team will be one of five core teams in the Leicester City program and competes in the FA WSL 2, the second tier of English soccer.

Lens. The popular French club acquired the league rights held by Arras, allowing it to start out this season in French women's soccer second tier. Lens joins 11 other Ligue 1 clubs with teams in the top two flights of French women's soccer. Former French international Sarah M’Barek left Guingamp to coach Lens, which plays in Arras' Stade Degouve Brabant.

Real Madrid. The Spanish club is starting its first season in the Primera Iberdrola after officially taking over CD Tacon on July 1. Its squad includes former Stanford star Chioma Ubogagu, who has played in the NWSL, England and Australia.
4 comments about "Borussia Dortmund follows other European giants in entering women's game".
  1. R2 Dad, September 12, 2020 at 1:12 a.m.

    Dortmund polled their fans to see what they thought of the possible paths involved in building a women's program. I assume this was the prefered option, even if it takes much longer to execute than buying/absorbing a local women's club as these other clubs have done. What does that say about this Bundesliga organization?

  2. Peter Bechtold replied, September 12, 2020 at 9:28 p.m.

    In Germany any new team--men or women--start at the lowest tier: anywhere from 8th to 10th. Then promotion is up to quality of players and training.
    I do remember when the village of Hoffenheim, pop. 3,000, began its ascent through the county tiers and just kept going up and up. Remember: There are no "franchises" in the global game outside of North America; you have to earn your standing on the field.

  3. R2 Dad replied, September 12, 2020 at 9:58 p.m.

    Peter, yes, for a new team. But why not, for example, buy SpVg Berghofen , a Dortumnd team that already is in Frauen Bundesliga 2? Most other teams have gone down that path, to accelerate their access to the Bundesliga by absorbing a local club already near the top. Or is this shades of Leipzig and thus disrespectful? Just trying to better understand why they chose this path. Was this more culturally appropriate? 

  4. Peter Bechtold, September 14, 2020 at 1:08 p.m.

    R2Dad, I know nothing about the relations between Berghofen and Borussia Dortmund; perhaps you do and can help out. Most clubs do not like being merged with others, esp. people down the road who have been rivals forever. The general idea is to give an opportunity to people to engage in sports, more so than "winning" soon. Bayer Leverkusen started out being known for Gymnastics and Track&Field and later added other divisions,e.g. Fussball. The latter overtook the originals in popularity as we know now.
    You may be correct in speculating about the negative image of RB Leipzig simply buying their way into sports championships as a form of advertising their brand. The latter seems to be more acceptable in "Anglo" culture than in Germany now,FWIW.

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