Slow and steady wins the race, says Dortmund COO Cramer
Borussia Dortmund's chief operating officer CARSTEN CRAMER tells GARY LIM that success comes to those who wait
Tell us more about your journey since you joined the club in 2010.
CRAMER: I jumped on the train at the right moment. I didn't expect it would run that successfully and fast through the country.
If you look at the last 10 years, it's a massive development the club have taken.
Nearly bankrupt in 2004, 2005 and, just five, six, seven years later, we won the championship, we won the double and we qualified for a Champions League final.
We also made massive economic development, which is also very impressive and, in moments like the 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen (last month), it's kind of unbelievable we have made such progress.
Are Dortmund going in the direction they want to?
The core of the club is always to be ambitious.
We know that we celebrate the intense football experience, but it's been more successful than we could have expected.
Sometimes, we have to check if it's really true. We have to be humble, we can't be too self-confident.
If you work for a club like Bayern Munich, you expect to win the first five games.
We didn't really expect it.
How do you balance sustainability and ambition?
Sustainability is one of our most important assets. We are not interested in short-time quick earnings, because quick earnings may not be sustainable.
We try to build a trustworthy relationship between the people and the club.
Without sustainability, we will never reach credibility. Without credibility, we cannot bond the people.
There is no real contradiction to be sustainable and ambitious at the same time.
How big a club can Borussia Dortmund get?
We are definitely not a global brand like Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United.
We are a smaller brand and it will take another 10 to 15 years to gain success. Without playing Champions League and without being successful in international competitions, you never will be that famous in markets like the Asian market.
The most important driver in our development will be success on the pitch.
Qualification for the Champions League is the most valuable marketing asset, because the people are so interested in this competition.
We are ambitious, there is no limit, but we have to do it step by step.
We can't be all over the world, we don't have the resources like the other big clubs do have.
So we decided to target some niche markets, like the South-east Asian market.
This is something we will develop over time.
How important are players like Shinji Kagawa in helping the club expand their base in the Asian market?
This is the most effective connection between a country and a club.
We would never hire a player from this area of the world if he couldn't fulfil the expectations on the pitch, because we are a football club.
Marketing is an appendix, but not otherwise. Therefore, we are very thankful that Shinji is kind of a door-opener to Japan and other Asian countries.
The relationship with the people is a more sustainable one, because if you have a link to the people, it's easier.
To be really honest, without Shinji, it would be much more difficult to be successful in Japan.
- The New Paper was at Borussia Dortmund recently as part of a touring party, which included journalists from Singapore and Thailand, as well as representatives from travel agencies in Singapore and Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines is the official airline partner of Borussia Dortmund. It has been voted "Best Airline in Europe" for the fifth year running, and its refurbished and expanded lounge came out tops in the "World's Best Business Class Airline Lounge" category in the 2015 Skytrax World Airline Awards.