Borussia Dortmund are back! No doubts over that. Things are back to the way they should be at the Signal Iduna Park. The forwards are plundering goal after goal into the opponentsa net, the midfield is slicing open defences with relative ease match after match, their goal keeper is hardly kept busy due to the overwhelming swagger of their offensive strength. They have rediscovered themselves and have almost dispatched every team that came the way.
Almost. This is not to severely scrutinize the Borussiansa occasional hiccups this season. Their performances have so far been brilliant but not flawless. It can be easily said that Dortmund are now back on the front where big teams have to be afraid of them considering their current form and free scoring spree. But are they completely ready to grab silverware this season? This question might still be hanging somewhere in the corner of every Dortmund fana s mind while singing about their dream of winning the Bundesliga back inside Signal Iduna Park.
Attack Is The Best Form Of Defence:
Thomas Tuchel has suddenly turned around the mentality at Dortmund, and that too after a few months taking over the reins from Jurgen Klopp. A team which laboured to scored goals the whole last season, have got back their old strengths and have turned the corner quickly. The trio of Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and Marco Reus who have struggled uncharacteristically last season are all fired up again and already have combined to score a whopping 47 goals between them. Though the attack looks fearsome, their defence has struggled against opponents who are brave enough to launch counterattacks and put them under pressure. They have only been defeated once and drew thrice this season, but the during all those matches they failed to get the better of their opponent.
They have used the strategy of outscoring rather than being patient and defending their lead. For example, against a struggling Hannover side on Matchday 4 in Bundesliga, they have conceded two goals which could have been clearly avoided, but managed to win the match with the help of their attack to scoring 4 goals to collect 3 points. The only loss which came against Bayern Munich in October has seen them exposed at the back. Bayerna s pressing seemed to have unravelled Tuchela s men and as a result have seen them thrashed 5-1 at the Allianz Arena. And given that they are not playing in the Champions League and drawn against Europea s relatively weaker sides in the Europa League group stage, they have not been tested completely.
Bayern Once Again:
Dortmunda s title credentials were questioned thrice this season the first one coming on Matchday 6 of Bundesliga where they couldn’t get past a stubborn Hoffenheim defence who had not even picked up a point until then. Though Aubameyang slid in a goal in the second half, their in form attack were unable to find the winner. This saw them fall behind Bayern in the table and doubters had the second question ready immediately after Matchday 7 after a 2-2 draw against newly promoted Darmstadt. Mats Hummels and co have failed to clear a set piece in the dying minutes of the game, giving Aytac Sulu the chance to equalize for the Lilies, thus dragging Dortmund further five points behind Bayern. These back to back draws have hindered them to gain ground in the title race early in the season against an undefeated Bayern Munich. The reason behind a doubtera s questions increased as did the whispering inside the post match conference room the very next week as Tuchela s men were taken apart by a rampant Bayern in a 5-1 humbling.
Whenever, Bayern took their attack to Dortmund the spaces inside the box were clearly visible and the positioning of their centre backs was once again the reason for their opponents to snuff out the lights of a comeback with 3 goals in the second half. It was the first time that Dortmund has faced a superior opponent, exposing the chinks in their armour which Bayern were able to identify from the previous two matches. After going to the top of the table on Matchday 4, suddenly the hunted have become the hunters by Matchday 8.
Currently Die Schwarzgelben are sitting behind league leaders Bayern with five points difference, who despite losing once and held to a draw once have been relentless with their domestic surge for a record fourth consecutive title. Every team drops points every once in a while and it is not always possible to maintain the same intensity over a season long campaign. But in order to usurp Bayern this term, Dortmund have to not only score more, but also commit lesser mistakes and if needed, be pragmatic to protect their lead.
Europa League And The Cup: .
Though the Bundesliga is a clear question of consistency and the challengersa perseverance, the Cup and the Europa League are wide open for the eight time German Champions. In the Europa League they are clearly superior to all the third place finishing sides of Greece, Azerbaijan and Russia. They are standing at the top of Group C with one draw and three wins are already pitched to travel far into the competition. But tests await them in the latter stages of the competition as they could face Europea s strong sides such as Napoli, Fiorentina, Athletic Bilbao or it could be Liverpool who are now managed by their former coach Jurgen Klopp.
As far as DFB Pokal is concerned it is hard to guess which team would even reach the finals given the unpredictable nature of the competition. Big teams get eliminated in unfashionable ways and recent campaigns have proven it. Even the league form and standing do not have their effects on teams making it big in the DFB Pokal. Schalkea s 2011 Cup triumph is one such examples, where Dortmunda s cross state rivals have finished 14th in the league despite bagging the trophy at the end of the season. Similarly, Dortmund have also reached last yeara s finals at Bayerna s expense despite finishing 7th in the league and struggling all season. They are clearly in sights to make a Champions League comeback next season irrespective of their chances at winning the League. But Europa League and the Cup are the biggest opportunities for the Yellow and Blacks to clearly re-establish themselves after reaching the 2013 Champions League final and winning the domestic cup in 2012.