Opinion

Totalling 13 hours and over 4,200 miles, Borussia Dortmund’s journey to Chicago to face Manchester City in the International Champions Cup raises questions as to why domestic sides take on such a mission as part of their pre-season schedule.

Yes, it as an opportunity to promote the German game in areas of the world where football (or soccer should I say) is continuing to develop, and where there is potential to attract a new global fan base to the club.

However, with global television brands now broadcasting the game on an international scale, is there a need to promote the game by taking part in these gimmicky pre-tournament competitions?

Manchester City made seven changes during Dortmund’s 1-0 win, while the German side made 10. Such a stop-start rhythm to the game makes you wonder why they did not just try out this experimental formula closer to home.

Not only is the cost of accommodation and travel arduous, but the effects of jetlag also means these tours can be more trouble than they are worth.

The NHS website states the potential symptoms of jetlag can include “difficulty sleeping at bedtime and waking up in the morning”, “tiredness and exhaustion” and “concentration and memory problems.” Moreover, jetlag can even be associated with indigestion, diarrhoea and constipation.

Dortmund captain, Marcel Schmelzer, said: “We were able to implement some of the things we wanted to, but it wasn’t easy, what with the jetlag and all the intensive training sessions we’ve had.”

For most of those returning from World Cup duty, the pre-season schedule in America is mercifully avoided. The likes of Manuel Akanji, Shinji Kagawa, John Stones, Kevin de Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling are all absent from the tour for example.

That in itself speaks volumes when illustrating these pre-season tours are basically non-events. Would the game actually be promoted successfully in America if the big stars are missing?

With The Black and Yellows then taking the 960 kilometre journey from Chicago to Charlotte to play Liverpool, an extra journey of nearly two hours flight time increased the burden for those who are averse to travelling.

A 3-1 victory over Liverpool made it two wins in succession for Dortmund, which sounds extremely impressive against the two teams highly expected to be challenging for the Premier League title. However, Liverpool were also missing several key players including Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and new £65m goalkeeper Alisson. It is therefore difficult to say that the two games are a reasonable gauge of exactly where Dortmund are at since both opponents were nowhere near their strongest.

Aside from Dortmund, Bayern Munich have an equally demanding schedule ahead of the first Bundesliga game on the 24 August. They face Juventus and Manchester City in the space of three days in Philadelphia and Miami respectively, before returning to home soil to face Manchester United at the Allianz Arena on August 5th.

Yes, the schedule leaves the club time on home soil ahead of the new season, but for the players themselves, is all the travelling for these substitute-ridden matches all a bit too much? The players themselves would surely prefer to be building up their fitness and skill levels closer to home and their families.

From a fan’s perspective, the new season cannot come round soon enough when the real action gets underway.