Exactly a year after their fight with relegation the Black and Yellows find themselves in contrasting conditions. After a remarkable Hinrunde, Thomas Tuchel’s side comfortably sit in second with the likelihood of returning to Europe’s elite competition. They also lag eight points behind leaders Bayern, which according to many means that hope of lifting the Bundesliga trophy is all but done and dusted.
The league’s top scorer and Africa’s player of the year, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, begs to differ. He keeps insisting that Bayern Munich will not be the Champions this season despite the circumstances. In light of these ideas we can’t help but ask ourselves what would a successful season for Borussia Dortmund entail?
Champions League Football???
The Club’s CEO Hans-Joakim Watzke once said in an interview a few years back that ‘The Champions League is our bread and better’. So first thing is first and star man Marco Reus seems to be in agreement with his boss, who also said that the main aim is to keep clubs behind Dortmund at bay. No one at the club will complain too much about a 2nd placed finish come May.
But surely this talent and star studded team has the making of champions, right? At least that’s the impression you get when you watch their attack minded entertaining football. Despite problems at the back Dortmund have looked at their best in the first half of the season. So if winning the league title may be a big ask, securing a Cup or a Europa League trophy might not.
Dortmund have progressed to the quarter finals of the DFB Pokal and will face VfB Stuttgart next. They are being tipped to come away with the trophy given that they keep their amazing run. The only team that might pose a threat to this ambition is of course Bayern Munich, the same opponent who lost to BVB in the Semi Final of last season’s competition.
In the Europa League it’s a different matter. Dortmund haven’t particularly found it so easy. Despite qualifying for the last 32 with two games to spare, consecutive losses meant that they had to settle for 2nd place and will now face a tricky trip against Portuguese side Porto. The German side will fancy their chances against an opponent who are not in the best of form but it’s still too soon to call. The ambition to win the title or reach the final however is not farfetched, although this year’s Europa League knockout rounds contain some high-quality clubs as well as traditions-laden sides such as Manchester United and Liverpool FC, teams never easy to beat, especially at Old Trafford or Anfield.
The return of injured players like Nuri Sahin and Eric Durm is a big boost for the team. On the other hand letting Jonas Hofmann go to Borussia Mönchengladbach and Adnan Januzaj return back to Manchester United will mean that Tuchel will consider strengthening the depth of his squad up front if any of the aspirations are to come to reality.
But one thing is for certain. Borussia Dortmund have impressed so far this season and a replica of that performance will be enough to stay in second place, at least.