Borussia Dortmund Season Preview 21-22

Borussia Dortmund Season Preview by Ben McFadyean

THE BASICS

Name: Ballspielverein Borussia 09 Dortmund e.v.
Nicknames: Die Schwarz-Gelben, BVB
Founded: 19 December 1909
Club colors: Black and Yellow
Primary rival: FC Schalke 04
Stadium: Signal Iduna Park (Westfalenstadion)
Capacity: 81,365
2019-20 Attendance: 975,853 season total (5 games behind closed doors) / 81,171 average per match
Club members: 159,037

THE TROPHIES

Bundesliga Champion (8) – 1956, 1957, 1963, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2011, 2012
DFB Pokal (German Cup) Winners (5) – 1965, 1989, 2012, 2017, 2021
DFL Supercup (6) – 1989, 1995, 1996, 2013, 2014, 2019
UEFA Champions League Champion (1) – 1997
UEFA Cup Winners Cup (1) – 1966
Intercontinental Cup (1) – 1997

LAST SEASON

Third place in Bundesliga with 64 points Won 20 Drawn 4 Lost 10 Goal difference +29
Top Scorers (all competitions)
Erling Haaland: 41 goals
Jadon Sancho: 16 goals
Marco Reus: 11 goals
Giovanni Reyna: 7 goals
Summer Results
Won 2 Lost 2 Drawn 0
Goals Scored: 6
Goals Conceded: 5

PRE-SEASON

Friendlies

FC Giessen 2-0
Athletic Bilbao 0-2
Bologna 3-0
VFL Bochum 1-3

21-22

DFB Pokal First round

Wehen Wiesbaden 3-0

Bundesliga Match 1

Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 (H)

THE TRANSFERS

OUTGOING

Jadon Sancho – Manchester United €85m
Leonardo Balerdi – Olympique Marseilles €11m
Sergio Gomez – RSC Anderlecht €2.25m
Lukasz Piszczek – Goczalkowice Free Transfer
Immanuel Pherai – Borussia Dortmund II Free Transfer

INCOMING

Donyell Malen – PSV Eindhoven €30m
Gregor Kobel – VFB Stuttgart €15m
Soumaila Koulibaly – Paris Saint Germain U19 Free Transfer
Abdoulaye Kamara – Paris Saint Germain U19 Free Transfer
Ansgar Knauff – Borussia Dortmund II Free Transfer

The Goalkeepers

Roman Bürki, who joined the club from SC Freiburg in 15/16,  in contrast to a highly consistent season in 2019-20, had a very difficult, and all too often inconsistent, season in 20-21. Due to inconsistent performances, the 30-year-old’s position as the club’s number one came under fire during the season and he was replaced for the latter part of the season by the hitherto unremarkable reserve keeper Marwin Hitz as the club’s number one in goal.

Bürki was only played in total for 24 matches. Although a shoulder injury put him out of action for 5 weeks between January and February, the 30-year-old finally benefitted from an injury to Hitz on match-day 32 in the home match at RB Leipzig and played out the last games of the season, crucially including an outstanding performance in the 2021 DFB Pokal final. Overall, 20-21 was an inconsistent season for the former number one, the solid performances that led to 13 clean sheets in 19-20 seemed a distant memory in contrast to the 4 achieved in 20-21.

BVB Fans had to get used to the unfamiliar sight of Marwin Hitz in goal, who had up until the start of 20-21 only played 6 matches in total for Borussia since joining in 2018. The combination of the 33-year-old Hitz’s unconvincing presence in goal and a season where BVB conceded 46 goals, 5 worse than 19-20 was enough for the voices of those calling out for a replacement to be heard again.

With Dortmund’s third-choice keeper Germany U20 international Luca Unbehaun (19) not being given a single appearance, either under Lucien Favre or interim-coach Edin Terzic, for the senior team in the past season the door appeared wide-open for a new goalkeeper at Westfalenstadion.

The choice of new number one has fallen on another Swiss Keeper Gregor Kobel who joined BVB for €13m from VFB Stuttgart. The highly-rated 1.94m Kobel has been given a contract until 2026. The former Switzerland U21 keeper has been the first-choice keeper at the Mercedes-Benz Arena since the start of 2019.

23-year-old Gregor Kobel has a reputation for being an advancing keeper who plays heavily off his line, he will provide Borussia with the ability to dispel danger outside the box, he is regarded as having good judgement, for being a good shot-stopper, handy with his feet and is amongst the Bundesliga’s best penalty killers.

But at Champions League level he is unproven, former clubs TSG Hoffenheim, Augsburg and VfB Stuttgart are not Borussia Dortmund and he has kept only 17 clean sheets in 65 matches for the ‘Die Schwaben’ and ranks 8th overall in the league with 68.6 Sv%, 2 places behind Hitz. However at still 23, there is room for improvement and player development is one of BVB’s strongest assets.

Overall however doubts remain as to whether Kobel can fulfil the potential he has shown in the past season, which earned him the accolade of being a ‘monster in goal’ from VFB coach Matarazzo, and become BVB’s long-term solution in goal at least in the interim leaving something of an outside chance of Hitz resurfacing, to show the kind of form he showed in the latter half of the 20-21 season that earned him the number one spot.

For 20-year-old Luca Unbehaun in contrast the opportunity of breaking into the first-team, at least for the moment, looks to be limited, the Bochum-born keeper is firmly anchored into the U23 set-up and that is unlikely to change at least in the short term in the highly demanding third tier, 3 Liga which BVB’s U23 side was promoted to last season.

The Defence

BVB conceded 5 more goals than in 19-20 in the past season and at times looked frankly chaotic in defence, lacking the stability of a consistent line-up, although under interim-coach Edin Terzic the type of defensive frailties that saw BVB concede 4 goals in a 4-2 thumping in ‘Der Klassiker’ against Bayern München and earn themselves a run of three clean-sheets in good wins against Schalke, Arminia Bielefeld and Borussia Monchengladbach in February.

At times BVB has looked as if they simply lack urgency on the ball in their defensive third allowing the opposition to press high and win the ball back time after time such as in the Champions League last 16 draws against Sevilla where they let a 2-0 lead slip to a 2-2 draw in the second round draw only narrowly progressing to the quarterfinal in February.

Dortmund’s defenders lack the commitment and edge we see in the impressive attacking colleagues, Emre Can makes elementary mistakes at times which concedes unnecessary freekicks and has never looked strong when attempting vital tackles in the box. As former coach Jürgen Klopp said ‘Can is the right man for the job at BVB’ but the job is in defensive midfield a position where the 27-year-old looks decisively more comfortable than in the back-line where Can all too often simply looks out of place.

In contrast, Manuel Akanji has had a markedly improved season overall earning him 41 starts across all competitions in 20-21. In spite of his improvements, Akanji continues to earn himself criticism for his lack of self-assurance at the heart of the defence where he is paired alongside Mats Hummels. The Swiss international lacks awareness at times and all too often lose markers ending up on the wrong side of his man in the box, inevitably leading to goals.

Many goals this past season could have been avoided if Akanji, a pivotal player in BVB’s backline, displayed more concentration and commitment. In spite of Akanji’s strong performances for the Swiss national team at Euro 2020, the 26-year-old, Akanji all-too-often remains the target of the fans Ire as he consistently shows marked weaknesses in his aerial game which are especially apparent in set-pieces one of BVB’s key areas to improve in recent seasons. One-third of the 45 goals conceded were from set-pieces in 20-21. BVB’s defence overall simply give away too many chances and look weak defending against longshots and for some time have looked at an area in need of further investment.

An answer to that need may have come this summer in the form of 17-year-old Soumaila Coulibaly from PSG’s U19s a centre-back with two U-16 and U-17 caps respectively for France who has been compared from his style of play to Bayern’s Dayot Upamecano. At 1.87m and with an imposing build, Coulibaly has learnt his football in the PSG academy and what makes him of rare value is the fact he is a left-footed centre-back a position which only his countryman Dan-Axel Zagadou, who was injured for a large part of 20-21, has been able to really make his own at BVB.

Under former coach Lucien Favre who departed during the 20-21 season, BVB played predominantly in a 4-2-3-1 formation but switched under interim coach, and now Sporting director, Edin Terzic mainly to a 4-3-1-2 and with notable success. The injury to Zagadou however left an Akanji Hummels partnership which most of the time just doesn’t work.

Akanji and Hummels are too similar in terms of their strengths and weaknesses especially the tendency to overcommit and in the case of Hummels, who is currently out to injury, there is also a lack of speed at times. Favre’s flexibility in implementing a 3-4-1-2 countered this weakness and provided more defensive stability but the formation only really worked well when the now-departed veteran Lukasz Piszczek (36) was in position.

BVB’s strongest defensive asset remains Raphael Guerreiro, simply put the 50-time Portuguese international is one of the best wing-backs in world football. Arguably even better running the line, Guerriero has an exceptional eye as to when to get forward and has completed the most-through ball passes in the Bundesliga in 20-21, the France-born Guerreiro who joined Dortmund in 2016 from Lorient, is indispensable when fit, an injury in the training camp in Bad Ragaz in Switzerland will mean BVB will have to do without the 27-year-old who was part of the Portugal squad at the Euro 2020 European Championship for at least the start of the season.

With Mateu Morey and Zagadou still not recovered. Nico Schulz the Germany international who since signing from Hoffenheim last season through a combination of poor form and injury has struggled to make the designated left-back position his own. Schulz remains a highly-regarded player but this will be a make or break season for 28-year-old who when joining for €25m from TSG Hoffenheim became BVB’s most-expensive all-time expensive signing in a defender position.

The 20-year-old Spaniard Mateo Morey is a player who has shown promise at right-back showed promise and will certainly, when he returns from the serious knee injury he sustained against Holstein Kiel in the DFB Pokal semi-final, be given further opportunities to prove his worth even if that is partly due to a lack of defensive options at this time.

The unrivalled leader in defence remains Mats Hummels, although at 33 is getting slower, Hummels who BVB resigned from Bayern in 2019, is the most consistent performer and provides the kind of stability BVB has long needed in the centre of defence. The German international who was also a key part of Germany’s Euro 2020 line-up after his unexpected recall by outgoing DFB coach Joachim Löw, has also shown leadership as BVB’s Vice-captain.

The 1.90m Thomas Meunier, who arrived from French champions Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer, has brought quality in aerial challenges but has not yet found his ideal position showing promise both in midfield and defence. The 45-time Belgian international definitely looks more comfortable in midfield and has failed to produce the consistency he shows for the Belgium national team. Meunier has been heavily criticised by fans in particular for his defensive mistakes and may not prove to be the solution at right-back that was anticipated.

The 21-year-old, 1.96m Dan-Axel Zagadou is undoubtedly, based on his strong performances in 19-20, a strong candidate for the centre-back position. At the start of the 20-21 season, the France U21 international had a terrible run of injury, featuring in only 11 matches since May 2020. ‘Zaga’ as he is affectionately known by the fans remains out of contention at the start of the 21-22 season.

An additional defensive option is 26-year-old Marius Wolf who has spent the last season out on loan at 1.FC Köln is a midfielder. A defender to watch for the future is undoubtedly Germany U17 international Nnamdi Collins who can play at both right and left-back, the towering 1.91m 17-year-old attracted more than strong interest from Chelsea last season. Veteran 33-year-old left-back Marcel Schmelzer is also in the squad although currently out to a long-term knee injury.

Overall BVB’s challenge in defence is finding a consistent line-up in particular at right and left-back and improve on set-pieces, Dortmund also has looked vulnerable on the counter-attack, the defence continues to look like a challenge where the ‘Schwarz-Gelben’ continue to look noticeably weaker in terms of personnel. Their defensive behaviour will be an area for Marco Rose to focus on. In spite of talented players like Collins coming through to meet the challenge, BVB is, at least in the short-term, likely to need experienced reinforcements in the backline.

The Midfield

BVB have a depth of talent in midfield and in particular season 21-22 may prove, in the absence of Jadon Sancho who signed for €75m for Manchester United, to be the season where BVB look to one Jude Victor Bellingham for the creative spark. In his 29 appearances for BVB during 20-21, the Stourbridge-born midfielder showed he is a proven source of creativity and a major asset in midfield which BVB could be lacking in absence of the popular Sancho who will not be easily replaced.

In particular, due to his proven skills in interceptions, which is unmatched in the Borussia Dortmund side, Bellingham’s impressive performances did not fail to be noticed by England manager Gareth Southgate either. The 18-year-old was called up for full England international 7 times in the past season including 2 appearances at the European Championship Euro 2020. Bellingham, if BVB can hold on to the player who has been in demand from club’s across Europe, can be crucial to Borussia’s success.

Another mainstay of the midfield is Belgian Axel Witsel, now 32, he has only recently recovered from his awful torn Achilles tendon injury. Without Witsel, interim coach Edin Terzic struggled to find the right balance in central areas and Witsel’s recovery in time for the DFB Pokal cup game that opened the season at third-tier Wehen Wiesbaden (3-0) was very welcome news indeed.

In terms of the formation new coach Marco Rose may implement, a lot depends on whether Denmark international Thomas Delaney, who is reported to have been on the transfer list this summer, is available. Delaney brings a strong defensive capability and under Lucien Favre was the go-to partner for Axel Witsel in the centre of midfield and a mainstay in midfield in season 20-21 featuring in 34 matches.

Emre Can who featured in Germany’s campaign at Euro 2020 as one of only two BVB players, the other being Mats Hummels, is a key defensive capability in midfield and is one of the best at pumping up the team and providing a ruthless edge that Dortmund so often lacked in 20-21. Twenty-six-year-old Can has an impressive 87% pass rate but shows some weaknesses in passing completing only 60% of all tackles and shows some concentration lapses in defence when playing in the backline.

As the versatile Turkish-German, who can play at right and left-back, due to key injuries in defence during season 20-21 Can’s addition to the back-line has opened the door in midfield for a very welcome revitalised Mahmoud Dahoud to rediscover his form again.

The Syrian-born midfielder had failed to gain a consistent run of matches, only playing in 101 appearances across all competitions since joining BVB in 2017 but has demonstrated his worth in the past season in the absence of Axel Witsel.

Dahoud is a highly capable ball-playing central midfielder whose key value is his ability to play equally well at number 6 or 8 and his recent contract extension until summer 2023 was widely praised in the media. The issue in midfield however will be with Witsel and Dahoud playing a similar role it remains to be seen how Rose will choose to play the 25-year-old.

A talent who has shown impressive skills in friendly matches for ‘Die Schwarz-Gelben’ is 21-year-old Tobias Raschl. The Germany U-19 international who is playing his second season in the first-team squad may provide further options in defensive-midfield although he remains, despite the consistent performances with BVB’s U23 which earned him 24 appearances in 19-20, something of an unknown and he only played in one match for the senior side in the past season, the 0-4 loss against Hoffenheim.

Focussing on the left-wing, BVB has with Thorgan Hazard and Raphael Guerreiro two strong assets. Hazard showed improvements after a slow start. In particular, in taking set-pieces and crossing, the Belgium international contributed four goals in the past season in the 28 matches he played in a 2020-21 season which was cut short for him due to an injury for several months.

A lot will depend on what form Hazard, who joined from Borussia Mönchengladbach in 19-20 for €27m, making him one of the most expensive signings in Dortmund’s history, comes back from the Euro 2020 tournament in. The expectations will be high that Hazard will make his breakthrough in his third season with BVB. Hazard’s place in the starting line-up will depend on whether new coach Marco Rose plays Raphael Guerreiro in the backline or in his preferred more-attacking position.

The out-and-out leader in the central offensive midfield is Marco Reus. The 32-year-old is one of the most dangerous wide-forwards in the game. Most importantly, the Germany international has exceptional finishing ability. In 2020-21, Reus scored eleven goals and led from the front as club captain in the 49 matches he played in.

In a season in which Reus was, for the first time since 17/18, largely injury-free, the talismanic Reus opted out of playing for ‘Die Mannschaft’ in the Euro 2020. So far this season, in the pre-season and in the competitive fixtures, he looks like he has benefitted from the break, getting an assist for the opening goal against Wehen Wiesbaden in the 3-0 win in the first round of the DFB Pokal German earlier this month and scoring the 1-0 opening goal of the season in the league match against Eintracht Frankfurt.

In the central offensive midfield, the other world-class player alongside Marco Reus is Julian Brandt. The German International joined from Bayer Leverkusen in 19-20 for what was widely regarded, at the time, as a bargain €22.5m. Brandt had been earmarked for playing a bigger role last season. However, after showing some moments of brilliance he persistently showed a lack of consistency particularly in defensive situations which are Brandt’s weaker side. Inevitably this has resulted in persistent rumours of potential transfers during the summer. Perhaps harsh given the 23-year-old having appeared in 45 matches, notching up 4 goals in the process in 20-21. The jury is still out but this season is likely to be a make or break season for Brandt at Borussia Dortmund.

On the right-wing, the key issue is that BVB will need to find a way of replacing Jadon Sancho. Sancho will be a hard act to follow in the past season, the 21-year-old England international, followed his 17 goals in 19-20 with a further 16 goals in the past season also notably contributing 12 assists in 26 games. 35% of Dortmund’s attacks came via the right side, and replacing Jadon is the greatest challenge Marco Rose faces in 21-21.

The number 7 jersey at BVB has been inherited by the 18-year-old US international Giovanni Reyna, who in spite of his lack of physical presence, has made an exceptional impression in his 37 league appearances scoring 7 goals for Dortmund. English-born Reyna, who plays for the United States, the country where he was raised, will be a focus for that right-wing position vacated by Sancho but they are big shoes to fill and the jury is still out despite ‘Gio’s undoubted talent as to whether Reyna can be the answer.

An option may also be the Real Madrid loanee Brazilian attacking midfielder Reinier. The 19-year-old, who featured in all but one of the gold medal-winning campaigns of the Brazil team at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, gained only 14 starts for Borussia Dortmund in the past season, most of which from the bench, and in spite of an impressive goal against Arminia Bielefeld in February remains something of an unknown. His versatility being able to play on both the left and right wings may well be his trump card.

Marius Wolf is an additional option on the right-wing returns from two consecutive loan spells. In season 20-21 he played for 1.FC Köln, Wolf played 31 matches and was most effective on the right-wing. The main advantage of Wolf returning could prove to be his ability to also contribute in the right-back position. New to the squad and one for the future is 16-year-old defensive midfielder Abdoulaye Kamara who also like Koulibaly, and Axel Witsel and Philippe Meunier joins from French Champions PSG.

The Attack

BVB scored a notable 75 goals in a 2020-21 season where ‘Die Schwarz-Gelben’ finished in third place, one point behind RB Leipzig who they beat in the final of the German Cup, the DFB Pokal in May. The unrivalled leader in attack is Erling Haaland whose 41 goals in 41 matches make him one of the most desirable forwards in world football. Rumours of offers particularly from the Premier League and Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea have been circulating thick and fast as a result across the media all summer.

Dortmund’s title chances will be greatly enhanced by the 20-year-old Norwegian having been retained, no small order in the face of reported offers of over €130m with BVB reporting €78m in debts for the 20-21 season following two seasons with limited fan attendance due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Norwegian international has proven himself to be one of the most versatile and powerful strikers in world football. He can score through long-range shots and poignantly through exceptionally well-placed finishes.

BVB have long been known for highly attractive attacking football and in the past season the ‘black and yellows’ excelled in tidy one-two touch combinations in the final third where the 1.94m Leeds-born Haaland has demonstrated an almost irreplaceable killer instinct in the mould of a classic number 9 finisher, the effectiveness of which the Westfalenstadion has not seen since Robert Lewandowski departed for Bayern Munich in season 2014/15.

However, Dortmund has a number of players who can score. The likes of Hazard, Brandt, Reus and Guerreiro are all capable of combining in the offence. No team in the Bundesliga completed more passes in 20-21 with their 86% completion rate and an impressive possession rate of 59.2%,

BVB also completed the highest number of short passes, 593, in the league which is both a blessing and a curse. At times they have been a bit too patient in getting forward favouring short passes around the backline where they still do not have a consistent line-up and consequently conceded 46 goals in the last season. Dortmund however remains an excellent possession-based side and their short passing game comes alive, making them one of the most popular teams in world football, in an electrifying way in the final third.

In terms of new arrivals, all eyes will be on the arrival of Donyell Malen in a €30m club-record deal for a striker from PSV Eindhoven brings additional options in attack. New coach Marco Rose now has the option to create a two-man strike force with Erling Haaland this season. It is expected that the 44-year-old will stick to a three-man attack and deploy Malen on the right flank. The Dutchman’s progression in the Netherlands has been well documented, registering a whopping 58 goal contributions (40 strikes and 18 assists) over the past three Eredivisie campaigns with PSV Eindhoven.

Yousouffa Moukoko is a further option in the attack, the 16-year-old became the Bundesliga’s youngest ever goalscorer in December scoring against Union Berlin. Although the doubts about the physical expectations of playing against much older players at Bundesliga-level have persisted and the Cameroon-born player has been out with a ligament injury, his second of the season following a knee complaint in December, since March. U-20 Germany international Moukoko, who scored 144 goals in 88 matches for BVB’s U17 and U19 sides, is one of Germany’s most highly talented strikers and can be regarded as a long-term attacking option for BVB.

The Coach

Marco Rose joins Borussia Dortmund from a Borussia Mönchengladbach team which he led against expectations to the knockout stages of the Champions League before ‘Die Fohlenelf’ dropped off to a disappointing 8th place finish at the end of the season following a poor run of form in the final part of the season. Rose, like Klopp, hails from Mainz 05 and he also favours the same intense pressing football as the former BVB, now Liverpool coach.

With Mönchengladbach, he favoured a four-diamond-two, Rose’s preferred shape gradually matured into a 4-2-3-1. The emphasis of the strategy has been on the players in central defence and in the double-pivot in midfield playing the majority of passes with wide attackers advancing through the inside channels and full-backs providing the width.

At Mönchengladbach the key to this were Marcus Thuram, former BVB player Jonas Hoffman and Patrick Herrman who as wide-forwards largely mirrored a similar style of play as at his former club Salzburg where Erling Haaland featured as the central attacker.

There are many similarities between Rose’s two former clubs with both sides engaging in a form of attacking football that meant them regularly attempting to break lines with penetrative passes. Rose’s Mönchengladbach also however recorded the most offsides in the Bundesliga last season.

In terms of the defence, Mönchengladbach normally defended in a rigid 4-2-3-1 so they could easily switch to a higher pressing situation triggered by sideways passes to the flank and back-passes to the centre-backs and goalkeeper.

In all of their low blocks, they would deny the opposition access into the centre by making the spaces smaller in between the lines with aggressive deeper midfielders and centre-backs willing to push up to regain possession and instigate a break. What makes Rose so attractive as a coach for Dortmund however is his history of developing talented young footballers within an enthralling tactical framework. Rose looks like a fit in terms of style of play, his teams play the kind of enthralling football BVB fans have got used to moving the ball at pace and score a plethora of goals.

The Leipzig-born coach has the talent to achieve that style of play with BVB, but a lot will depend on whether he is given the budget to develop the squad to rise to his expectations. In a February interview, with Germany’s leading football magazine Kicker Sportmagazin, Rose described the basic ideas of his playing style as “emotionality, hunger and being highly active”. “We want to be very active against the ball, sprint a lot. We want to win high balls and have short ways to the goal. We don’t want to play high and wide, but fast, dynamic and actively”.

Co-trainer Rene Maric, who also moves to BVB with Marco Rose, summed up the challenge of implementing Rose’s system, “any team that wants to implement the tactics requires a great degree of athleticism as well as a high-level of game intelligence”. What happened when that ‘balance’ was not available due to injuries and a lack of suitable back-up was seen in the dip in form and ultimately disappointing 8th place finish in the second half of the 20-21 season with the Borussia-Park based club. Whether BVB currently has the squad to achieve Rose’s vision remains to be seen.

One factor that will undoubtedly be in Rose’s favour will be the legacy of dynamism of Terzic’s leadership which resulted in the win of the DFB Pokal in 2021. Rose’s personality style is closer to that of Edin Terzic than that of the more intellectual Lucien Favre who was often criticised by the fans for his reserved manner. Marco Rose is BVB’s 6th coach in as many years since Jürgen Klopp’s departure in 2015.

Although BVB has weathered the changes well qualifying for Europe in all seasons since Klopp’s departure in 2015, silverware has been sparse with just two DFB Pokal cup wins in 2017 and 2021. Overall with Rose, BVB may just have found the manager to restore their title fortunes but he will need to be given time and the players needed to lead th

The Verdict

Borussia Dortmund is in a transition season in 21-22, they have lost a world-class right-winger with the transfer of Jadon Sancho and are hobbled by their limited transfer budget due to the debt levels the club is carrying. There will be limited options to add to the squad even in key positions like in defence, crucially at left-back without sales.

The club’s management has, a much-lauded, traditionally conservative approach to their finances which has achieved consistent profitability since 2011 and that is unlikely to change. The current transfer window was always going to bring limited investment without selling players who may be regarded as excess to requirements following replacements joining like Roman Bürki, Julian Brandt, Nico Schulz or Marius Wolf.

With Marco Rose, Dortmund may have found the inspiration on the touchline they have been seeking since Klopp’s departure in 2015/16. Rose can reinvigorate and inspire the club and continue to inspire the fans in the vein of the popular Edin Terzic. However, doubts will remain about the impact on his authority and the workability of having Terzic as the new director of football position at the club.

Providing a workable line-up is found in the currently injury-hit defence and BVB can improve their defensive play, particularly on set-pieces, ‘Die Schwarz-Gelben’ should be in a position to recover the number two slot in the Bundesliga. Rose’s strong record of achievement in European competitions also suggests that Dortmund can match the run that took them to the quarterfinals in the Champions League in the current season.

BVB will again, despite being pushed hard by RB Leipzig last season, particularly due to RB losing some of their top players like Werner and Upamecano, return to be the second-best team in Germany and another good cup run can be expected in the DFB Pokal, the main difference being this season any silverware gained will finally bring the much-loved victory parade around the Borsigplatz that BVB fans missed in the pandemic-hit 20-21 season.

The Prediction

Vizemeister in 21-22

 

About Benjamin McFadyean 8 Articles
For the last 7 years, I have been writing about this unique football league I have followed since I moved to Germany as an 11 year-old in the 1990s. The club I follow is the eight-time champion Borussia Dortmund. As a teenager, I had a season ticket on the Dortmund's 'Yellow Wall' the Südtribüne until I returned to live in the UK in my 20s. The Bundesliga for me has the balance right and is an example of what football can be, great passionate crowds, member-owned football clubs and fair prices, not to mention outstanding football in the land of the four-time FIFA World Champions. In addition to my writing, I am a qualified German-English translator specialised in the football industry and am currently translating a biography by one of the leading figures in German football. For the last 7 years I have been president of the official BVB fan club in London,  when I am not in Dortmund, I regularly attend games of Portsmouth FC at the legendary Fratton Park stadium.

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