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Fear The Roundtable: 2017-18 Dortmund Season Predictions

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The crew makes predictions that are sure to come true. Or maybe they won’t.

FUSSBALL: 1. BL 02/03, BORUSSIA DORTMUND - HERTHA BSC BERLIN 2:2 Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images

With the start of the season getting dangerously close, we think it’s time to get back in the business of making bold predictions that will turn out to be horribly wrong. We thoroughly count on the fact that nobody will remember them by the end of the season. However in case we are correct about something, anything, even the smallest hint of a correct prediction, we will remind you of that for the rest of eternity. We are a lot like professional pundits in that regard.

  • Will this be the year we finally see a real competition for the Bundesliga title?

Alex Greenberg: I think so. Bayern have made a few peculiar moves this summer, and will still be really reliant on Arjen Robben. I’m not sure James Rodriguez will work well for them even when he is healthy. If someone like Lewandowski or Thiago got injured, I’m not sure what they’d do.

Joel MacDonald: Hopefully. Every season I want us to win the title. Bayern lost one of their stars (Douglas Costa) who was supposed to be the long term replacement for Ribery. Lahm and Xabi Alonso also hung up their boots, so it’s plain to see Bayern’s in a bit of a transition stage. It’d be great to see us and Leipzig both take advantage of a weakened Bayern squad. I think we also have to rely a bit on the former Hoffenheim players at Bayern to underperform.

Dan Shulman: Yes. Whichever team wins, be it Dortmund, Bayern, or maybe a surprise other team, I truly believe we will see the title race come down to the final few match days.

Josh Hall: It all depends on how fast Dortmund can get used to the Bosz system. If they can’t settle quickly and are fighting to stay in fourth or fifth by November, then no. There is likely no legitimate way for another club to challenge this year. Leipzig could, but with the difficulties of Champions League, they will likely be fighting for third and fourth alongside Dortmund come the Winterpause.

Brian Meyers: Bayern are looking vulnerable and we are looking good, so there should be some competition between us. As for other teams Redbull is definitely still in the race.

Sean Keyser: Probably not, but I will say this: our chances are better this year than they were last year. In my opinion, a rather large number of factors have to go our way in order for us to compete for the Meisterschale. I believe those factors to be: Squad health. A starting eleven featuring Bürki, Guerreiro, Bartra, Sokratis, Toljan, Weigl, Dahoud, Kagawa, Reus, Aubameyang, and Dembélé is enough to win us he league. We need as much of them to win as possible. Regression from Bayern: Is this the year Robben and Ribery finally show their age? Who knows, but in order for Dortmund to challenge for the title we need Bayern to struggle a bit. They had their troubles last year, we could really use a repeat of what they encountered. Better play from our depth players: Last year, whenever we moved from our starting eleven there was a serious drop in quality. We need the likes of Götze, Schürrle, Philipp, Passlack, and Isak to contribute regularly, especially if we want to go deep knot Europe as well.

  • The Bundesliga always has a “surprise-team”, one squad that nobody expects at the top but still there they are. Last season both Köln and Freiburg qualified for the Europa League which nobody expected them to. Which team will surprise people this season and why?

Alex Greenberg: RB Leipzig, but for the wrong reasons. I think they will fall off significantly. They’ll exit the CL in the group stages, tumble down the table, and seriously flirt with the idea of selling Naby Keita in January.

Joel MacDonald: While they might not finish super high, I think VFB Stuttgart is poised for a good comeback season. They got a chance to dominate in 2. Bundesliga and they grew under less pressure, having a chance to rebuild. We’ve loaned/sold them some players in the past and now they’re rumored to take Durm off our hands.

Dan Shulman: I think Eintracht Frankfurt can be included in the surprises for this season. They’re certainly one of the deepest teams and have added a few key pieces for the upcoming campaign. I wouldn’t be shocked if Frankfurt finishes within the top half of the league table.

Josh Hall: This one is always a shot in the dark, but I’m going to go with Stuttgart like some of my comrades. They’ve made good signings and quickly bounced back from the 2nd Bundesliga.

Brian Meyers: Hoffenheim will be even better this year. After competing under young star coach Julian Nagglesman last year look like they may improve off their success. The big question for them will be how they can handle squad depth with European games on the schedule.

Sean Keyser: I think newly promoted Stuttgart will do very well for a team coming from the 2. Bundesliga. They've got a good , young squad that tore up the second tier last year. While I doubt they'll make it to Europe, I'd expect them to finish at least near the top half.

  • Who will be the best BVB player this season?

Alex Greenberg: A few weeks ago I would’ve said Ousmane Dembele, but it seems doubtful that he’ll be around much longer. I want to say Marco Reus, but his health is obviously a major issue. How about Sokratis? I think he steps up and continues to form a really strong partnership with Marc Bartra.

Joel MacDonald: As Alex said I think we’re going to see and improved defense from Dortmund. We finally have depth in the CB position and if the rumors are true that we’re signing Toljan, then we have our entire backline covered.

Dan Shulman: Much like Alex, I would have easily said Ousmane Dembele. But if the Frenchman does make his Dortmund return, questions of whether fans and teammates will accept him as well as if his heart is fully into it at BVB will loom. So I’ll go with the safe answer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be the team’s best player. As for someone like Sokratis, I think he will be the most valuable in terms of leadership and defensive ability.

Josh Hall: André Schürrle of course! JK. I’m going to go with Pulisic. I can see this being his real break-out year.

Brian Meyers: Oh so we are all agreeing with Alex now? Well I’m going to call wildcard and say that Pulisic will be the man this season.

Sean Keyser: Julian Weigl. Maybe he's not the *best* in terms of talent, but he if we win the league, it will be because of his work in midfield. Preseason has made me miss him quite a lot.

  • Aubameyang or Lewandowski for the Torjägerkanone? Or possibly someone else?

Alex Greenberg: Lewandowski. He’s determined after losing out to Auba last season. And even if Bayern are a little weaker than usual, he will put them on his back. I could easily see him being the main force dragging them to another Bundesliga title.

Joel MacDonald: Hard to say. If we lose Dembele, then Aubameyang won’t get the service he used to, so there’s a huge chance that he won’t have nearly as good a season as he did last year. On the other hand, Bayern doesn’t look as strong as they did last season, and their wing duo Robbery isn’t getting any younger. They’re only a few injuries from disaster, and Lewandowski needs a competent squad around him in order to hit his high goalscoring numbers.

Dan Shulman: If Anthony Modeste had stayed with Koln I would have said him, but alas some things aren’t meant to be. If I had to choose between both Aubameyang and Lewandowski this season, I’d choose Auba given the creativeness of Dortmund’s midfield, even without Dembele. However, don’t be surprised if RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner makes a bit of a push for the scoring crown this year either.

Josh Hall: Timo Werner.

Brian Meyers: Aubameyang is gonna repeat. Watching him this preseason, he is so so thirsty for goals. With plenty of YOUNG talent behind him, he will be this seasons top scorer with another 30+ showing.

Sean Keyser: Aubameyang, assuming he doesn't bolt to Real Madrid halfway through. (Love you guys!) in all seriousness, I think Auba has been a step above Lewa recently. The number of chances he gets is insane, he doesn't even need to finish all of them.

  • Dahoud, Toprak, Zagadou and Philipp joined Dortmund this summer, which one of them will the best new addition and who will be looked at as a bust?

Alex Greenberg: Zagadou is really promising. His size is a game-changer, and I honestly can’t believe Dortmund were able to get a player of his quality for free. But I think Maximilian Philipp’s goal scoring will captivate our attention and leave us feeling like he was our best signing of this summer.

Joel MacDonald: Toprak might be the bust. Not saying he’ll flop, but he’s going to have to fight with Bartra for a starting spot, and that battle will be hard to predict a winner for. As for the best new addition, I definitely see Dahoud stepping up in that midfield role, especially while Weigl is recovering. Sahin can fill in for Weigl, and that frees up Dahoud to service our attackers to create goals.

Dan Shulman: It’s tough to say, really. I think in the long term Dan-Axel Zagadou will be looked as the best move made this summer. For this season, Mahmoud Dahoud will be the best new addition. He’s a pivot-type player that can both defend and attack from a midfield posture. As for a bust, I don’t really see either of them being a total let-down, though I feel like Omer Toprak has lost a step or two and that will show this season.

Josh Hall: I think Toprak will be the likeliest to be a ‘bust’, but it will be from injury issues not form. I don’t necessarily see Dahoud as fulfilling his ceiling this year and think with Ousmane likely gone and Reus’ continuing saga of injury, Philipp will be the best of those mentioned. But, with still two weeks in the transfer window, we could still see Julian Draxler as being the signing of the summer. ;)

Brian Meyers: Mahmoud “Weigl lite” Daoud will be the best new guy this year. He will give Julain the rest he needs and will keep the flow of the game going in BVB’s favor. Like Weigl he is not going to score or even assist much, but games are going to rest on this kids shoulders and he will step up to it.

Sean Keyser: Dahoud will almost certainly be the best new addition. As I said above, if he can recreate what we had two years ago with Gündogan and Weigl, we will be in an excellent place. The biggest bust will be Toprak. He wasn't that great last season for Leverkusen, and judging from preseason, I would rate Bartra, Sokratis, and Subotic over him. Zagadou might be similarly ineffective this year, but I see him more as an investment for the future.

  • The 2017/18 Bundesliga season will be the first one with the VAR (Video assistant referee) technology. How many times will it be used in BVB-games this season?

Alex Greenberg: Probably a few times. There will be growing pains, but in the long run it is for the better. As long as it benefits BVB I don’t really have an issue with it. But if it hurts BVB, then I say we all throw a fit.

Joel MacDonald: No idea. I won’t deny that oftentimes when we play smaller clubs, the referees tend to favor us. My prediction is that it won’t be used often, and when it is, it won’t be well-implemented. The Chile vs Germany Confederations Cup final is a perfect example of that.

Dan Shulman: MLS added it two weeks ago and I attended a match where replay was used twice. This is simply something you can’t predict how often it will come into play, but my guess is more often than not, even if it’s just ensure something was correct. Truth be told, I already hate VAR and think soccer is one of those sports that’s fine without it.

Josh Hall: If any league can pull it off and make it work well, it will be the Bundesliga. Although they did not clothe themselves with glory during the Supercup (likely missed offside call on Bayern goal), that seemed to be a technical failure. It needs to be seamless and non-intrusive ... or in other words, opposite of MLS and the abysmal Confed Cup.

Brian Meyers: 69

Sean Keyser: Depends how much money Bayern are willing to fork over XD.In all seriousness, I have no idea. Over nine thousand.