With Borussia Dortmund back on the training ground ahead of the 2016-17 Bundesliga and Champions League campaigns, there are many new faces on the team along with familiar names returning once again. The summer has been bittersweet thus far. Although some promising stars have been added to the lineup, some talented players have departed. Here's a quick recap:
- Ousmane Dembele (Stade Rennes)
- Emre Mor (Nordsjaelland)
- Mikel Merino (Osasuna)
- Sebastian Rode (Bayern Munich)
- Marc Bartra (Barcelona)
- Raphael Guerreiro (Lorient)
- Orel Mangala - BVB II (on loan from Anderlecht II)
- Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich)
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United)
- Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)
If you have a different idea about the formation or the depth chart, let us know in the comments.
So going forward, the projected starting lineup in a 4-3-3 defensive formation is: Burki; Piszczek, Bartra, Sokratis, Schmelzer; Weigl, Kagawa, Castro; Reus, Aubameyang, Dembele. The seven top choice bench players will likely be as follows: Bender, Guerreiro, Rode, Ramos, Mor, Pulisic, and, of course, Weidenfeller.
Guerreiro and Bender are valued for the defensive ability and versatility, Rode and Pulisic provide options in the midfield for attack and defense, Mor and Ramos add extra attacking options. It might be a battle between Mor and Jakub Blaszczykowski for a spot in the matchday eighteen, but both will certainly get a fair amount of minutes.
End of the Rode for Sahin?
The acquisition of Sebastian Rode opens many doors for the Dortmund midfield. Rode can play defensive midfield and central midfield...the exact same role as Nuri Sahin. Rumors linking Sahin with a move away from Dortmund have sprung up since Rode was signed, and although it doesn't look likely at the moment, he could be on his way out.
Sebastian Rode was out of favor at Bayern, but provides a style favorable to BVB manager Thomas Tuchel. Sahin is a skilled midfielder, but injury and playing style have been his enemy. It will be interesting to see if Sahin leaves. I don't think he should because he will be a very valuable player when it comes to Champions League and DFB Pokal matches.
Mor Wingers Needed
There's an abundance of talent at on this Dortmund team, but that X-factor is still missing. It may be found in the form of adding another winger. Mor and Reus on the left side are a solid duo while the right side, albeit deeper, is lacking the punch which Henrikh Mkhitaryan provided. Yes, Dembele, Kuba, and Felix Passlack are three very talented player. But a name like Andre Schurrle or Mario Gotze (I know, I know) could be beneficial in this attack.
After seeing Dembele in action on Friday, the initial nervousness from losing Mkhitaryan was eliminated because Dembele is a special player. But whether he has the experience and skill needed to play in the Bundesliga has yet to be seen. Maybe adding a proven winger is a necessity, maybe not. We'll see what the front office thinks.
Without a doubt, Dortmund is very, very deep at left-back. Four of them remain on the Dortmund roster for the upcoming season, but it looks like only two will remain. Schmelzer and Raphael will compete for a starting job, but both will likely dress given their versatility and skill.
The other two, Joo-ho Park and Jannik Bandowski, barely played last season. It is likely that we will see Bandowski depart before the end of the summer. As for Park, he is a solid defender who just can't seem to break through into the starting XI. It will be interesting to see how his situation unfolds at the club.
Further Transfers and Loans Out:
There look to be a few more moves for Dortmund left to make this summer. Some have been proposed while others remain to be done.
Neven Subotic - leaving BVB. He confirmed it, so he's gone. Kind of a rash decision in my opinion.
Joo-ho Park - loan him out. He isn't getting any playing time, so why not let him play elsewhere to see what he can do.
Leitner - loan him out. Looks unlikely given the fact that he can't be loaned with less than a year remaining on his contract, but a simple one year extension could fix that. Other than providing depth, there isn't much of a concrete role for him.
Merino - loaned back to Osasuna. This one has been proposed and has received a lot of slack. I don't see a real problem with it. He's still young and hasn't really played at the top flight. Give him a chance to actually play with Osasuna.
Kuba - move to Liverpool. New rumblings have stated this, but it doesn't really look likely. Hopefully Dortmund keeps him in the squad this season given his experience at right wing.
This is, of course, all speculation, but by the looks of it Dortmund have a pretty solid foundation. Maybe they'll add another big name, maybe they'll lose a depth player, maybe they win the Bundesliga. It's still too early to tell. But after initial analysis and projection, it looks like BVB will be a force to be reckoned with in the Bundesliga.
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