Champions League place is crucial: Dortmund boss

AFP , Monday 28 Sep 2015

Borussia Dortmund's return to the Champions League next season is crucial if the club is to keep it's current squad, chief executive officer Hans-Joachim Watzke has said in an interview.

"I don't think all the players whose contract expire in 2017 will extend with us if we miss out on the Champions League again," Watzke told German magazine Kicker.

He was refering to Dortmund stars Ilkay Gundogan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mats Hummels, who are all out of contract at the end of the 2016/17 season and the club is set to offer extension deals this season.

Dortmund are in rude health with a turnover of 276 million euros ($309m) for the 2014/15 season, when they briefly flirted with the relegation places, and banked 54 million in profit.

Dortmund led the Bundesliga up until the start of last week, but dropped four points with draws at Hoffenheim last Wednesday and at home to Darmstadt on Sunday which left them second to Bayern Munich, who they play away on Sunday.

The team could only manage a seventh place finish last season under Jurgen Klopp, and having only qualified for the Europa League via the play-offs, Dortmund need to finish in the top three to be guaranteed a Champions League spot next season.

Watzke insists they will not sell players to balance the books, but a repeat failure to reach the Champions League will have direct consequences.

"In this case, re-establishing a team budget of 87 million euros would make little sense," insisted Watzke.

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