International breaks are the worst. This one didn’t come at the worst time because of our injury problems, but it has dragged on and we’re all desperate to see Dortmund back in action.
It’s a tough restart to the Bundesliga, as we have Bayern Munich coming to the Westfalenstadion on Saturday in one of the most anticipated matches of the season.
But part of the reason this international break has dragged on so long for me is because I feel like Dortmund are about to break through and finally hit their stride. Thomas Tuchel’s side have had a relatively slow start to the campaign, but on paper they should be about to break through. The injuries are subsiding, key players are returning, and the fixtures are favorable after the Bayern game.
It feels like ages since Marco Reus has played for Dortmund, but his long injury layoff is finally coming to an end. Only time will tell how well and quickly he settles back into the squad, but it shouldn’t be overlooked just how big of an effect a returning superstar can have on a team.
Reus’ return will provide a bit of consistency and experience for a Dortmund attack that hasn’t had a lot of it lately. Young players like Emre Mor, Christian Pulisic, and Ousmane Dembele are all good options and have filled in admirably, but none of them are at the level Reus is. Again, assuming he comes back from this injury and finds his old form.
Bayern might be too early for Marco to start, but why can’t we get a result against them even without him? If we can handle Real Madrid at home, surely we can handle these Bavarians. They haven’t exactly been world beaters lately, drawing 1-1 with Hoffenheim their last time out.
Meanwhile BVB are coming off the significant confidence booster that was their 5-2 romp of Hamburg.
Also it’s just been way too long since Dortmund beat Munich. Last time it happened was in the semifinals of the 2015 DFB Pokal. The Law of Averages says we’re due for a result of some sort here.
Karma is also on our side! Never forget what Franck Ribery got away with in the final of last year’s Pokal. Who knows how that game ends if he had seen the red card he deserved. The soccer gods/referees owe us one.
A victory against Bayern would instantly provide a spark to Dortmund’s season. A draw would be fine too. No matter the result against FCB, Tuchel’s team still need to string together some victories afterwards to show that they can take care of business against other teams to keep pace with the defending Champions.
They’ll have that chance in the coming weeks as they take on a few teams around them in the Bundesliga.
Matches with Frankfurt, Gladbach, Cologne, and Hoffenheim are all happening before the winter break. Cologne and Hoffenheim are bigger matches than usual, as both teams are above Dortmund and seem poised to stick around the top part of the table.
We talk about hoping to compete with Bayern for the title, and while that may not happen this year, there is still a lot of work to be done in the Bundesliga. There are many teams competing for Europe. As we saw in Klopp’s final season, qualifying for the Champions League is not a given.
The month ahead is a crucial period for Dortmund, and could make or break just what they are playing for in the Bundesliga this season. I think the squad is finally healthy and mentally ready to give it their best shot. Now we just need this international break to end so we can see what they’ve got.