Sports / Soccer

German soccer giant sets sights on China

By Wang Hongyi (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-25 08:07

German Bundesliga soccer club Borussia Dortmund, commonly known as BVB, and its sponsor Evonik Industries, are set to bring their twinkle-toed brand of excellence to China this summer to delight local fans.

The former UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Champions League winner has finished the game in the International Champions Cup in Shanghai against Manchester United on Friday and will play with Manchester City in Shenzhen on July 28.

To mark the tournament, the BVB Evonik soccer school will be held for the first time in China.

Chinese youngsters attending the soccer school will learn the latest training methods under the expert guidance of leading German coaches.

According to China's soccer development plan, Chinese soccer is expected to edge its way into the world leading teams by 2050. According to the pragmatic Government Development Plan for Chinese Soccer, soccer's development will be accelerated in schools. The number of schools with a specialty in soccer will reach 20,000 by 2020.

Borussia Dortmund and Evonik have paid attention to the youth soccer training for a long time. In 2011, the BVB Evonik soccer school was opened to offer soccer enthusiasts a professional training.

They will be taught about the theory and practice of soccer, but, perhaps more importantly, they will be encouraged to enjoy both the game and the camaraderie of the group. Those attending the school will include the children of Evonik employees and children from six local schools as part of a summer camp, according to Evonik.

According to Borussia Dortmund's management team, it has specifically chosen China as the first big stage for its new team because Asia is at the core of this major European club's growth strategy.

After dropping down to the Europa League following a poor domestic run last season, Dortmund will once again take part in next term's Champions League following a second-place finish in this season's Bundesliga.

As well as its European ventures, the club has also been busy on the global circuit.

Just last year, the BVB summer tour took in Singapore and Malaysia, where the Borussia Dortmund brand and its stars such as Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are popular with local fans who greeted the German starts enthusiastically as they took to the pitch.

Klaus Engel, chairman of the Executive Board of Evonik Industries said such fervent support reflects the main reason for Evonik's commitment to BVB.

"We are a perfect match: Thanks to the emotions involved with supporting BVB, Evonik can touch people who would otherwise be out of reach for a specialty chemicals corporation.

"And Borussia Dortmund benefits from the creativity with which we support the club worldwide," said Engel.

"As a globally active specialty chemicals corporation, our involvement with BVB helps Evonik to promote its own brand on a global scale.

"This enables us to reach important target groups such as customers, skilled professionals or capital investors in many countries through our BVB connection.

"And that's why we're supporting the Borussia Dortmund tour to China this summer," he added.

Strong brand coupling

The connection between BVB and Evonik Industries dates back to 2006. At that time, Borussia Dortmund was in the middle of an economic and sporting restructuring phase.

The Evonik management team drew up its first sponsorship contract with BVB to help establish their new company brand.

The initial goals were focused on increasing the brand awareness of the new company at a national level in Germany.

Since then, the sponsorship venture has developed into a long-term and very successful partnership.

"Thanks to our long-term cooperation, both partners have laid a solid foundation for new business and sporting successes on the international stage," Engel said.

"As a result of its cooperation with Evonik, Borussia has secured a solid basis for peak sporting performance in national and international competitions for many years to come," he added.

Since 2014, Evonik has also had a stake in Borussia Dortmund KGaA, a Germany-based company invested in the Borussia Dortmund soccer club. The sponsorship deal runs until 2025.

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