How’s your hangover? Hopefully on the pain scale it’s only a 1-1 draw with Augsburg. To anyone waking up and suffering from something more along the lines of a 2-0 loss to Leverkusen, you have my sympathies.
Bad memories from 2016. A year that definitely could have been better for Dortmund on the pitch. There was the slow start to this season, the heartbreaking Europa League exit to Liverpool, and the constant slew of injuries to key players throughout it all.
But now is the time to be optimistic ahead of the new year. So in the spirit of that and me staying in on New Years Eve, here’s a realistic wishlist for Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
A Stable Defense
Believe it or not, there was a time when Dortmund could keep clean sheets and avoid conceding the first goal in a game (which they’ve done in their last seven matches). I’d like to see us get back to that. Even if it takes a purchase in the transfer market.
Marc Bartra has produced mixed results since transferring from Barcelona in the summer, but I still believe he can be the answer in defense.
But even if Bartra comes out after the winter break and doesn’t put a foot wrong, we still need more depth at the center-back position. This is why we should probably go out and buy someone like Omer Toprak. Mikel Merino at CB is not going to be good enough to finish in the Top 4.
Memorable Nights In Europe
Memorable for the right reasons!!! Last season’s journey in the Europa League was memorable for its tragic ending. A different story this year would be nice.
Our squad is far from the best in the competition, but the draw has been relatively kind to us. Benfica is a winnable tie, and after that who knows what can happen. Could you imagine if we drew Bayern and knocked them out? Now that would be a party.
We won’t win the whole thing, but some memorable performances along the way is all I can ask for. Added experience at that level of European competition, for our young squad, can’t possibly be a bad thing.
A Summer Without Upheaval
Robert Lewandowski. Mats Hummels. Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Ilkay Gundogan. All were key players who were poached from Dortmund by bigger clubs. Three of them left this past summer in a particularly chaotic transfer window.
It’s time for this to end. It’s time for the Bayern feeder club jokes to end. Dortmund can afford to hold on to most of their key players.
The young players in BVB’s squad have bought into what Thomas Tuchel is building, so I’m not worried about any of them leaving anytime soon. But there is one notable key player who Dortmund could lose this summer.
Auba is the leading scorer in Germany, and is having another season as one of the best strikers in the entire world. This combined with the fact that Real Madrid have had their transfer ban reduced, is likely to cause us a bit of worry. PEA has spoken often about the promise he made to his Grandfather that he would one day play for Madrid.
Let’s hope that promise be put on hold for another year or two.
A Top Four Finish
The goal for BVB over the last few years has been to unseat Bayern Munich from their Bundesliga throne. A 12-point deficit behind Bayern seems too large to overcome, but this is a unique season in the Bundesliga. There are quite a few teams in the mix for the Top 4 that haven’t been anywhere close in recent years. With this added competition, Thomas Tuchel and company should be satisfied with finishing in a Champions League position.
Remember this is only our first year back in Europe’s most prestigious club competition. Europa League last year was fun, but finishing in the Top 4 is a must.
From sixth place at the halfway point, it will take some doing to get back into the Champions League. Let’s enjoy the ride without also taking it for granted.
Happy New Year! Heja BVB.