Imagine the humiliation.
In 2004, Borussia Dortmund were on their knees. Years of financial mismanagement left the club unable to pay their players, and were eventually bailed out, As part of the bail-out, Bayern Munich loaned Dortmund €2 million to help meet the wage bill. Dortmund clambered back to their feet, appointed Jurgen Klopp and paid Bayern back in full, and became one of Bayern's strongest domestic challenges in decades.
Cynics/realists will point out that Bayern's loan was less an act of benevolence than an investment in their own future, as it has given Bayern an alternative source from which they can siphon off talented players: Robert Lewandoski, Mario Gotze and now Mats Hummels.
Despite facing the reality that their best players leave for Bayern and other wealthier clubs every summer, Dortmund have mastered the art of replacement. Thomas Tuchel has proved a fine successor to Jurgen Klopp, and despite the fact that they've lost Henrkih Ctrl + V to Manchester United and Hummels to Bayern, their signings have been superb, and have managed to assemble one of the strongest squads in European football. Take a look. Those names in bold are players signed this summer:
Dembele in particular has looked magical in pre-season. The only potential weaknesses there is in goals and potentially at centre-back, depending on how well Marc Bartra adapts to German football.
In addition to all of this, the club are determined to remain close to their tradition. In 2005, upon the bailout, the club's directors signed a charter in which they promised to buy back the Westfalanstadion and pledged to always play in yellow and black.
In addition to all of this, the club are profitable and ranked eleventh in Forbes' list of most valuable football clubs, while all the while you can stand on the magnificently atmospheric Yellow Wall for around €20. And you can have a pint in your seat.
With Bayern no longer under Pep, Dortmund are in a position to run them extremely close for the league. We can't wait to see it.