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Can Dortmund finally dethrone Bayern Munich and win the Bundesliga this season?

Brodie-Mclean
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
265   //    14 Nov 2018, 15:42 IST

Jubilant Dortmund players after Alcacer's goal
Jubilant Dortmund players after Alcacer's goal

Fighting back from behind, Lucien Favre's young side extended their lead over Borussia Mönchengladbach at the top of the table to four points, while they moved seven clear of original title favourites Bayern.

Having come from behind twice, Paco Alcacer gathered a probing through ball in the 72nd minute and calmly placed it past the out of form Manuel Neuer to make the score 3-2 and all three points remained at the Westfalenstadion, in Dortmund.

Despite the 4-point gap at the top of the league table and the gaping difference in form between Dortmund and their classic rivals, it is understandable to still ask the question; can Dortmund really win the Bundesliga for the first time since the 2011/12 season?'

Here are three reasons to suggest the good times have returned to Westfalenstadion and are here to stay:

Firstly, let's talk about the attack. Having recorded 33 goals already this season, the attack this Favre side possesses is one to be feared. An obvious mention of Paco Alcacer must be made, who is averaging a goal every 30 minutes and proving especially effective in the Der Klassiker with a clever finish.

If his form continues there is little reason for Dortmund to begin to struggle. The way modern football is developing today we see the shift from the Mourinho-esque defence approach to the Guardiola/Klopp 'goal-loving' era.

Marco Reus seems to be back at his best
Marco Reus seems to be back at his best

Furthermore, Reus has stepped up to the new attacking system under Favre and has an average 0.57 goals per match, a step up from averaging below 0.47 before Favre's arrival. One cannot hesitate to mention the role which the energetic Sancho has fulfilled. Under Favre's width orientated system, Sancho remains wide to maximize space for Reus's creative ability in front of the opposition's defence.

The young winger has 4 goals and 6 assists this season. However, with interest from Juventus and other major clubs, although the possibility may be low, Sancho being removed from the system to play elsewhere in Europe may prove to be a hurdle this young Dortmund side has to overcome in order to win its 8th Bundesliga title.

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Secondly, the Reus and Favre relationship is a major part of this Dortmund side's success. Reus, at the age of 29, has proven his love for Dortmund and now with his injuries looking to be out the way he is able to thrive under Favre as he did 6 years ago at Gladbach.

Reus said Favre was "Probably the best coach I've ever had" before the season and their relationship has only developed further as Dortmund sit on 27 points. Favre's attacking tactics play into the hands of the playmaker role Reus wants to play as he sits in as a false 9.

The young and energetic talent such as Sancho and Jacob Bruun Larsen fits well into this system full of width and high-intensity, one-touch passing attacks. There is no doubt Reus thrives under his mentor.

Finally, the young nature of this squad provides a strong argument for Dortmund being able to go the season's distance. There are two ways to interpret how the regular youngsters starting will affect Dortmund's titles chances.

On one hand, perhaps their lack of experience may prevent them from being able to remain in control when the end of the season draws and the pressure grows. On the other hand, it may be the reason they are able to go and win the league as fatigue may not be a bigger factor for Dortmund, as it may be in the more elderly Bayern camp. This fatigue arguably was shown during Der Klassiker as Dortmund had the energy to come from behind twice.

The latter is the stronger argument though as given how the youngsters have so far excelled in the Dortmund system it is hard to suggest that under the guidance of Favre, who mentored Reus from being a young player to one of the worlds best, this juvenile side will not be able to continue their form.

For the first time in years, Germany has a title race which may just go the distance. There is no doubt that Bayern will find form given the class they have in their ranks, however, the last time Bayern were this low after 11 matches was in the 2011-12 season.

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Brodie-Mclean
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