Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and Sporting Director Sebastian Kehl have been ambiguous about the future of the team captaincy in recent interviews.
Borussia Dortmund seem set to deal with a question of captaincy heading into the pre-season, with team training set to start in July. On two occasions now, both Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and Sporting Director Sebastian Kehl have failed to give a clear answer as to whether or not current captain Marco Reus will retain the armband. Both Watzke and Kehl have emphasized the idea of “generational change”, with Watzke stating that the issue will be discussed shortly before the 2023/24 season gets under way:
"“We always clarify the captaincy issue during summer preparation, when we have the complete squad together. That we will have to make a generational change at some point and transfer responsibility to younger players who are willing and able to do the same, we already said when Marco and Mats’ contracts were extended. But these are completely natural processes.”"
Kehl, on his end, also emphasized that the topic was discussed during contract negotiations with Mats Hummels and Marco Reus. Kehl also decided to drop a few names as players who have shown leadership qualities over the course of their time developing as Dortmund players:
"“Gregor Kobel, Niklas Süle, Nico Schlotterbeck, Sebastien Haller and Julian Brandt have shown that they can help lead a team. We will take this into account. I have a lot of confidence in these guys, too!”"
Watzke and Kehl’s comments will raise eyebrows, even if they have indicated that these discussion have been held with Dortmund’s senior players, especially the club’s current captain Marco Reus. In the past, where the question of captaincy has arisen, Dortmund’s higher ups have been quick to show faith in Reus as the club’s leader on the pitch, but with the German international in the twilight of his career, the club may be looking longer term.
Under head coach Edin Terzić, Reus has seen his minutes on the pitch limited, particularly in the second half of the season. Perhaps this is another factor to take into account when reading into the club’s motives.
If Reus is indeed set to take a step back in terms of what role he will play on the pitch (i.e. playing less), the club may wish to begin the process of preparing another player for this role; a player that will be on the pitch more often. They will likely look to increase said player’s responsibility in the squad preemptively knowing that Reus won’t be around forever.