Borussia Dortmund: Half-season Review
Bundesliga run: After completing the domestic double last season, Dortmund were expected to charge into the lead by mid season and remain ahead of other teams in the contention for the league title. However, the reigning champions now find themselves in joint third place with Eintracht Frankfurt. Post the defeat to Hamburg on Match day 4, which ended their impressive 31-game unbeaten record, the Borussians have never seemed the same. 8 wins, 9 draws and 3 losses over the half season, see them languishing 9 points off the top. Most notably the BVB dropped points against Bundesliga new comers, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf and title rivals, Bayern Munich. Defeats to local rivals, Schalke in the Revierderby, former champions Wolfsburg and Hamsburg have cost them dearly, with the top half of the Bundesliga being a very tight affair. The Yellow-Blacks can now hope to close in on Munich, if they were to drop points post the German winter break.
Season prediction: 2nd.
Champions League run: The international exploits of the BVB have vastly improved this season, compared to last year’s disappointing run. The early season draw saw them placed alongside former champions, Real Madrid and Ajax and oil rich, Manchester City, in this seasons, ‘Group of Death’. But since, the Germans have managed to qualify on the top of their group and are now being touted as serious contenders for the European title.
Dortmund remained unbeaten this season, after beating Ajax narrowly, 1-0, trumping City in England and following it up with a 2-1 victory against Madrid. The second set of fixtures saw them draw 2-2 to Madrid, followed by a 4-1 drubbing of Ajax and topping it off with a 1-0 victory over Manchester City. Dortmund will face off against Ukrainian powerhouse, Shahktar Donetsk in the last-16.
Season prediction: Semi-finals.
DFB Pokal: Dortmund find themselves in the quarter-finals of the Pokal, in an away fixture against league rivals, Munich. Dortmund progressed to the QFs after scintillating wins over Oberneuland, Aalen and most notably a 5-1 win over Hannover 96.
Areas to improve upon: The Bundesliga champions have scored 35 goals, while letting in 20, and hence the defence remains a major concern. As captain, Sebastian Kehl approaches the late stages of career, a holding midfielder needs to be found to patch up the midfield. A proven goal-scorer would be vital up-front as Robert Lewandowski is bound to leave in the summer, with Manchester United being touted as the most likely destination for the Pole.
Season prediction: Finals.
Top scorer: Robert Lewandowski (24 games: 16 goals, 7 assists)
Key man: Mario Gotze(19 games: 11 goals, 7 assists)
Impact signing: Marco Reus(23 games: 13 goals, 9 assists)