Hi everybody! 2017 is coming to a close. BVB has a lot of work to do in 2018 if they want to have a chance for the rest of the season. Here the FTW staff give their take on what they want to see from BVB in the next year.
Lose weight (get rid of players)
Everyone wants to drop a few excess pounds at the start of the new year, and Dortmund should be looking to get rid of players who might not be performing to the best of their abilities or have too high wages based on their production.
Explore Europe (deep Europa League run)
Champions League was a mess. Despite a tough group, there was still a slim chance at advancing out of the group and into the Round of 16. Somehow, even with only two points from six matches, Dortmund managed to qualify for Europa League. With a disappointing and stubborn Bosz now out of the picture, replaced by the dad-jean wearing Peter Stöger, Dortmund making a deep run in the Europa League isn't out of the question. It all depends on who we draw and the results on the pitch, but it's definitely not out of the question.
Spend time with the kids more (give our young players more minutes)
According to TransferMarket, Pulisic (19) and Weigl (22) finished the Hinrunde in the top 10 in total minutes played among the club, the most for players under the age of 25. We pride ourselves on being an organization that's known for playing young players, but I'd have expected our younger players to have more minutes. I'd like to see more young players like Jadon Sancho and Alexander Isak get Bundesliga minutes, while injured players like Maximillian Philipp should see more time once they return from injury.
Dream big (win the title over Bayern)
We may have gotten pantsed by them during the Hinrunde and narrowly beaten during the DFB-Pokal, but I don't see Bayern Munich as the unstoppable juggernaut they usually are. They've got their fair share of injury problems just like us, and our coaching has improved over the last guy. I know it would take a monumental collapse for Munich to lose the title, and we'd have to hold off teams like Schalke and Leipzig to do that, but wouldn't that be something?
Home improvements (get better players)
We’ve still got a ton of money left over from the Dembélé sale. There are plenty of spots where we need to improve (center back, left back, second striker), and there’s still plenty of caysh to throw around. I know Dortmund isn't known for being buyers during the January window, but I can see some of that summer income being used for improving our foundations during the winter.
Joshua Hall :
I would like to see Hans Joachim Watzke and Michael Zorc issue a new, all encompassing sporting philosophy and goal statement. The club issues a financial report every year in which they vaguely refer to playing youth and consistently making the Champions League, but with the Bosz debacle, it would be nice to get a coherent sporting strategy from Aki and Susi. If they were trying to continue to be a progressive, elite, possession-based, offensive, and aesthetically pleasing side, they horribly failed to hit the mark with Bosz and the fact that we do not know if they know that is rather unsettling. A clear strategy statement of where they see the club going on the pitch would help increase faith in their leadership. Because right now, it seems that nice, comfortable personalities in the front office are the deciding factor rather than on-pitch actions.
Staring a 13-point deficit in the Bundesliga is never a good way to start the second half. But after a lengthy slump, BVB seems to have turned a corner this season. They're playing with much more fluidity and confidence, but there are still improvements to be made.
Being eliminated from the DFB-Pokal will allow Dortmund to focus more on the Bundesliga. The league table is packed which means a loss could drop Dortmund as far as 8th place possibly.
My New Year's resolution for Dortmund: Continue to build confidence. As a young team, it's about setting smaller goals rather than tackling one giant goal.
The first thing I would like to see Dortmund do is to offload/loan out some dead wood in the squad. Players like Sebastian Rode, Erik Durm, and Gonzalo Castro should be sold. Players like Andre Schürrle, Jan-Niklas Beste, and Jadon Sancho should be loaned out to gain experience and get playing time in order to become the players they are capable of being.
I think another thing BVB needs to invest in is a better physiotherapist staff. Time and time again Borussia Dortmund becomes Dortmund Hospital, and while that can be attributed to the players' bodies and genes, as well as some nasty tackles in matches, I have to believe that a large part of the responsibility lies with the physiotherapists.
Lastly, I think Borussia Dortmund needs to make a big name signing. It seems that we lack ambition in the transfer market, and if Dortmund wants to be an elite club that can realistically compete in Germany and Europe, then BVB needs to step it up in the transfer market. I know we're not exactly rich, but we're constantly selling players for much more than we bought them. We can afford a big name signing at some point in the future.
Stop Playing from Behind Against the Run of Play
Three coaches have tried to fix it but this has become a consistent problem for BVB. It became a problem that partially ended Klopp's tenure. Tuchel kind of, sort of fixed it. Bosch pretended to fix it for 10 weeks. Stoger should spend the winter break motivating the boys and cutting out silly self-inflicted mistakes at the back.
A Clean Bill of Health
A healthy Marco Reus makes Dortmund go. But most years that's too much to hope for. Same for Erik Durm. But this year getting back Gotze and Piszczek would be huge as well. No disrespect to Bartra, but watching him as a fullback brought back memories of Bale in the Copa del Rey. Seriously, a healthy BVB should contend for a Europa League title and comfortably wrap up a Champions League spot in the Bundesliga.
I want to see BVB go all the way in the Europa League. I know there are some who want BVB to tank the EL and focus on getting a CL spot, but I disagree. BVB have enough talent to at least finish fourth. Without the DFB Cup, and with the title chase effectively over, the Europa League is the only venue for BVB to play meaningful football. There are plenty of quality sides like Napoli, Atletico Madrid, and Arsenal for BVB to tackle, so there will be no shortage of entertainment.
Congratulations! You have made it to the end. What I want to see is the young guys get a lot more time. Raph, Isak, Pulisic, Mo, Weigl all should be playing more then they have. Also no more Castro and Schurrle, they are both not fitting with the squad.