Saturday May 25th 2013 was a pivotal day in the recent history of Borussia Dortmund.
That date saw Die Schwarzgelben hit the apex of the global game, where they contested the Champions League final against arch nemesis FC Bayern Munchen.
A cagey affair was decided by an 86th-minute Arjen Robben strike, enabling Die Roten to heave BVB from the top of the mountain of which they have been tumbling down ever since.
Boy wonder Mario Gotze had agreed to switch allegiances to the enemy even before the game had kicked off and star striker Robert Lewandowski followed a year later after Dortmund finished runners up to their Bavarian adversaries once again, this time in the 2013/14 Bundesliga.
With the core of the team dismantled, fortunes have progressively worsened; the team currently sit ninth in the German top tier, long-serving coach Jurgen Klopp has tending his resignation and chief string-puller Ilkay Gundogan has announced his intention to leave upon his contract’s expiry in 2016.
The jet pack that propelled Dortmund from left field into the hearts of neutrals across the world has, it would appear, ran out of fuel and now as the foundations of their success fracture, the scavengers begin to circle.
It’s universally expected that Gundogan, Mats Hummels and Marco Reus will follow their boss out the door this summer, but what other valuable assets could be seized in a Schwarzgelben end-of-an-era clearance?
With 14 goals and six assists (making him the leading BVB player in both metrics), the Gabonese forward is one of few Dortmund regulars to have delivered this season.
Brimming with pace, the former St-Etienne ace has the physical credentials to make a success of himself in the Premier League, while his net-bulging return says he could go a long way to solving Liverpool’s attacking woes, especially if Raheem Sterling departs.
For those in need of improving at left-back, of which Tottenham certainly are, the Dortmund lifer would be a handy acquisition.
A provider of several assists across his seven-year stint in the first team, Schmelzer is also a stern defenceman, as an average of 2.6 tackles per league game this season suggests.
Having churned out near identical numbers across all statistical metrics over his career, the 27-year-old is the picture of consistency.
The efforts of the towering Serb are often overshadowed by those of slow-coach partner in crime Hummels, but Subotic ranks as an excellent centre-back with Chelsea needing to bolster in this department.
Winning an average of five aerial duels per outing, taking to the skies is his chief strength, though a pass completion rate north of 80% proves he’s capable in possession too.