After a tough Hinrunde, Dortmund currently sits 6th on the Bundesliga table with 27 points. Looking back at our preseason predictions, this is definitely an unexpected result. We’ve had up to 11 separate players hurt at any given time, something that could sink nearly any teams season. Injuries weren’t the only thing that plagued us this season. How exactly did our season fall apart? Lets break it down.
The season started very well for BVB overall. We won almost every game to start the season except for our sloppy loss against RB Leipzig. It may be that we underestimated the now second place team. Most likely Tuchel and the players were just totally unprepared for how Leipzig were willing to play. As unpalatable as that loss was for the fans the rest of September was by far the best part of the season for BVB. We scored 20 goals in the next 4 games, winning all of them. With our recent scoring troubles it’s almost hard to imagine how easily we were able to shred up Wolfsburg and Darmstadt. Our goal scoring frenzy in September was a just a joy to watch. The month ended on a high note as well as we came back to tie Real Madrid in the Champions League. Judging from September, it really seemed BVB had a honest chance at competing for the league title. Oh how October would crush those dreams.
Remember our last season with Klopp? That’s how it felt to watch this team from October on. We didn’t win one of our four league games in October, went to pens vs a Second league side, and barley beat Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League. I. From the start everything went bad. Bayer Leverkusen beat us 2-0 after totally exposing Julian Weigl again and again. Other teams took from this and it took Weigl awhile to get used to to being pressed. Out tie to a defensive Hertha was at least a little forgivable and we did end up beating Sporting, but after that things got worse. We let up three goals to bottom of the table Ingolstadt, whom had only scored two goals up to that point in total. To end the month we managed to squeak out a tie against hated rivals
Schalke 04 who have lasso been having a terrible season.
We didn’t play many games in November but we did see some good results. We beat Hamburg 5-2 in another classic BVB goal scoring frenzy. We also got a great win over Bayern Munich, winning 1-0 in what can only be described as our only perfect defensive performance of the season. Both our champions league games we left with 3 points as well, including the highest scoring group stage game of all time in an 8-4 victory over Legia Warsaw. The month ended on a sour note however as we lost to Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1. Here is where it became apparent there was some critical defensive problems with the team. Since our game with Warsaw we have given up the first goal in every game, 7 games in total. While Reus came back from injury in November, his addition didn't provide much help as thing went sour since his comeback game against Bayern.
December started well enough with us crushing “A German Team” 4-1 and tying Real Madrid to secure the top of our group in Champions League. Then things went bad again for the Bees. We tied our last three league games of the year to totally fall out of the title race. Ties to Cologne, Hoffeheim and Augsburg is not good for a team with the quality BVB has. In each of the ties our defense really blew the game. We always managed to score but we also gave up the first goal. Fighting from behind is difficult for a team as young as ours and it showed. Sokratis may have been hurt, but our inability to keep defensive structure makes one nervous at our top 4 prospects this season. The best part of watching BVB in December was seeing Ousmane Demebele take a huge step forward in his development. He went from a unpolished talent without discipline to one of the most dangerous talents in the Bundesliga over the course of a couple of games.
If we are to make top 4 this season we need to hope for a healthy team and for Tuchel to make a miracle happen with the back line. We have showed we can score a ton of goals consistently and we can hold leads. Our major issue has been going down first in games and having to fight back. In our friendlies vs PSV, Leige, and Paderborn hopefully we can get our defense playing cohesive football. If not, Its Thursday football for us next year.