The Malaysian chapter of Borussia Dortmund’s Asian Tour, supported by the club’s main sponsor Evonik, is BVB’s second stop after the full-house capacity encounter against Japanese J-League club Kawasaki Frontalein Tokyo.
The match is held in collaboration with the 2014 groundbreaking development partnership by the former UEFA Champions League finalists and JDT or more commonly known as Johor Southern Tigers.
The deal will see both sides sharing coaching and training information and exchanging players in the future in developing youth football in Johor.
Among Borussia Dortmund’s stars in Johor Bahru are Japan’s Shinji Kagawa, who returned to Signal Iduna Park from Manchester United last summer, Marco Reus, Mats Hummels, new signings in midfielders Gonzalo Castro and 19-year-old Julian Weigl who has great potential to develop, and goalkeeper Roman Bürki.
For fans who followed BVB during the success of the 1990s, BVB international ambassador Karl-Heinz Riedle and youth coordinator Lars Rickenare also among the Black and Yellow contingent on the tour.
The Crown Prince of Johor, His Royal Highness Brigadier General Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, who is also the President of Johor Football Association, said he is extremely excited with Borussia Dortmund’s presence in the state following successful cooperation between the two clubs.
“This is a long-term agreement between us and Dortmund. I’m serious about the development of football in Johor and I want to see it move up to the next level,” said Tunku Ismail. “Today marks a new chapter in JDT’s development plans and with BVB on our side, we are confident of achieving positive results.”
“I would like to express my appreciation to BVB for this wonderful collaboration and we will work from here onwards. This match serves as a good opportunity for Johor fans to witness an exciting experience,” added Tunku Ismail.
The deal allows Dortmund to expand their reach in Asia following the 2014 opening of a team office in Singapore. The club is well-known in the region as the home of Japan star Shinji Kagawa and also hosted Malaysian Gary Robbat for a training stint.'
Borussia Dortmund’s Chief Executive Officer, Hans-Joachim Watzke, said the club’s first Asia trip since 2007 reflects BVB’s long-term global strategy.
“The people in Asia want the chance to see the stars first-hand, and this is a wish that we would like to take into account. The Bundesliga’s presence in Asian TV markets is increasing. That, in turn, will help us to become better known and more visible,” said Watzke.
“We’ve made it our goal to maintain close long-term ties to the people in the region and to learn from each other. Current informationsuggests that an estimated six million Japanese people have a strong interest in BVB,” he added.
Dortmund's global shirt sponsor Evonik and kit supplier Puma, both of whom have regional bases in Singapore, will help in branding initiatives in the region. The Bundesliga's media rights marketing arm, DFL Sports Enterprises, has an Asian office based out of Singapore and will work closely with the club to achieve strategic branding goals.
Borussia Dortmund remains Europe's number one club in terms of attendance figures and was the only club in the 2014/2015 season - just like in previous years - to break the sound barrier with an average attendance of over 80,000 fans per home game.
With an average attendance of 80,424 spectators, Borussia Dortmund topped the rankings across Europe - ahead of FC Barcelona (77,632), Manchester United (75,335), Real Madrid (73,081) and FC Bayern Munich (72,882).