Germany’s finest footballers are battling it out once again in the Bundesliga. At this early stage in the season, almost anything seems possible. Sure, Bayern Munich lead the table, but 1.FC Köln, RB Leipzig, and Borussia Dortmund are breathing down the Bavarians’ necks. Moreover, given the coaching changes at Bayern, along with other factors, Dortmund is still viewed as a legitimate title challenger this season, as BVB attempts to break Bayern’s run of four straight Bundesliga titles.
Over the years, Borussia Dortmund has proven to be one of the more successful and widely followed clubs in German football. The 2015-16 runners-up have already recovered from their loss to Bayern Munich last season.
So does the club really has what is takes this season to break Bayern’s hegemony?
Here are three key issues that fans need to watch out for:
Aubameyang’s Transfer Interest
Considered one of the best strikers in Europe, last season’s Bundesliga Player of the Year Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is rumored to be getting interest from other clubs.
The Gabon native revealed in an interview that several prominent clubs have been contacting him. The identified clubs are AC Milan, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Paris Saint-Germain. He says further that these clubs had discussions with his father, but no final decisions have been made. He has also mentioned in several interviews that Real is the club of his dreams, as he had promised his grandfather that he will play for them one day. Although Aubameyang extended his contract with Dortmund until 2020, scouts need to be prepared with lists of potential target replacements.
This worked well for them the past summer, as they were able to sign newcomers with the departure of three key players Mkhitaryan, Hummels, and Gundogan.
The rift between Tuchel and Dortmund’s Chief Scout
Speaking of scouting for talent, several news sources, including the German newspaper Deutsche Welle have reported a falling out between much-admired Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel and chief scout Sven Mislintat, who is responsible for the summer contract signings. The alleged rift has been going on for a few months. ESPN reports that it started when negotiations with Oliver Torres, Atletico Madrid’s midfielder, did not work out. If this escalates further, this may lead to an imminent departure of one of them.
General Manager Michael Zorc has a lot of ironing to do between parties, as he considers both very integral part of his team. Mislintat has been part of Zorc’s team since 2009, and is successful in getting exceptional talent, including Aubameyang. Recently, he signed rising talents Dembele, Guerreiro, and Mor. He has extended his contract with Dortmund until 2019, and Zorc is set to retain him by promoting him. This is to prevent rivals Hamburger SV and Fortuna Dusseldorf from getting him.
Both fans and football analysts say that Tuchel has been the best coach for Dortmund. This season will further prove his mettle because this is officially the first complete team that he built. He is known to change tactics more than twice a match, and this has worked well for the squad. He has 18 months left in his contract, and a departure will potentially disengage the solidarity of the club.
This falling out severely affects the running of the team, and may possibly affect team morale in coming weeks.
Dortmund’s Outstanding Talent
Dortmund definitely does not lack outstanding talent. Football analysts note the team’s speed and flexibility and the bench’s higher quality for 2016-17. What all this talent means, however, for the end result of this season is hard to say. Talent takes times to gel; however, talent can collectively emerge sooner than expected, which is what BVB will have to hope for this season after losing a core group of players from a season ago.
It is no wonder that bookmakers offers for future Borussia Dortmund games are on a positive yield. BVB will be a solid bets for its next match at 15:30 GMT on the 21st of October as Dortmund travel to mightily struggling Ingolstadt.
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