After a forgettable 2014/15 the saddest thing for BVB fans was not missing out on a Champions League spot or losing the cup final to Wolfsburg, it was the departure of the charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp. You can see how emotional the whole of Signal Iduna Park was during the memorable farewell speech from Klopp after his last Bundesliga game against Werder Bremen.
Among the many things in his speech there was one striking truth. He said ‘You are getting a wonderful coach. This club has a bright future. I am sure of that.’ Of course anyone who follows the Bundesliga closely clearly knows the tactical acumen of Thomas Tuchel and the great job he did at Mainz. But who would have reckoned that, after a roller coaster of a season, it would only take a few months for the new man at the helm to cement his impact at Borussia Dortmund.
A little over seven months later, Borussia Dortmund is flying high under the new manager. Only five points behind Bayern in the league, in the semifinal of the DFB Pokal (where they will face Hertha Berlin in April) and a 3-0 winner over the Premier League’s 2nd place side Tottenham Hotspur last Thursday, which helped them put one foot in the quarter finals, it certainly is a good time to be a BVB fan.
Perhaps the most dramatic change we have seen under Tuchel is his ability to get the best out of his players. No matter how many times the formation or the starting players changes, the team never failed to deliver. Youngster Julian Weigl has been a revelation since joining the team in the summer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mhkitaryan are enjoying life more than ever, İlkay Gündoğan and Marco Reus are showing their class, Mats Hummels is proving his quality after a woeful first half of the season, and the list goes on. From goalkeeper to striker Tuchel has succeeded at making his players better.
The team looks more organized and more patient. The same team which had difficulty coming back from a goal down only a year ago, now has the self belief of carving out chances and converting them. During the first half of the season, despite scoring so many goals, the team was criticized for letting goals in at the other end. But this hasn’t been the case in 2016, as the team only conceded 3 goals in all competitions, putting in a decent defensive display against teams even as dominant as Bayern Munich.
BVB also have made their home ground a fortress. Despite the one loss in the Europa League, they are unbeaten in the Bundesliga, and have won all but two home games this season. With the crucial games in the Europa League and in the Pokal, coming up they have the chance of wrapping up their amazing season with trophies. The future certainly looks bright for the Black and Yellows. And it’s all thanks to the man behind their amazing ascent to the very top, Thomas Tuchel.
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