We are one game into the Ruckrunde and things feel uneasy for BVB even though we had a a big win vs Augsburg, our victory is mostly due to heroics from new signing Erling Haaland. The rest of the squad was poor before he came on. The FTW team decided to make some predictions about how they see the team preforming the rest of the season and what they think is BVBs ideal scenario. Of course they all answered the questions in different formats, but hey, that just means more diverse answers.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now: BVB probably aren’t winning the Bundesliga title this year. RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich are at the top of their games right now, and BVB’s defense is very shaky. I don’t have high hopes for Lucien Favre to engineer a masterclass comeback during the second half of the season. I just want to see entertaining football. I want us to score goals by the bucket. I want Håland to score the most goals in the league in the second half. I want us to beat Bayern at the Westfalenstadion. I want us to go as far as we can in the Champions League, and if we go down, I want us to go down swinging. If we don’t win the title, I at least want it to be close. I DEFINITELY want to beat Leipzig on the last day of the season, regardless of what the final result may be.
What was most frustrating about the first half of the season wasn’t necessarily the lack of results. It was the lack of quality football. Sometimes it was brilliant, but far too often it was of the quality of something you’d expect from a team like Freiburg. Cowardly. Unambitious. Tentative. Whatever word you want to call it, it was not the style of play that I fell in love in when I first began following Borussia Dortmund. At the end of the day, that’s the best that I can hope for during the second half of the season. I want BVB back.
- What do you expect to happen?
I think we will continue to be the same team that we have been under Favre: at times thrilling, often frustrating, and gifted with the capacity to collapse at a moment’s notice. Sancho will finish with a total of 16 goals and 19 assists (I’m going on record with a ludicrous prediction just so I can be a self-righteous prick on the off chance it happens), Brandt and Hakimi will continue to be two of Dortmund’s best players, Haaland will provide a much needed boost to BVB’s shot numbers, and Zagadou will cement his place in the starting lineup.However, I’m also expecting to see errors continue to be an ongoing problem for this team, leading to points dropped that should otherwise have been in the bag. This and the occasional lackluster performance will ultimately result in Dortmund finishing 3rd in the league behind Leipzig and eventual winners Bayern.
- What is your reasonable ideal scenario?
Favre recognizes the need for flexibility and starts to rely on some of the young talent on the bench a little more. Haaland, Balerdi, Raschl, Morey, and maybe even Reyna see some game time, and this leads to a fresh, fearless Dortmund. Leipzig lose their magic touch, and Bayern continue to struggle to see out games despite outplaying most of their opponents, resulting in Dortmund and Gladbach surging to the top of the table. Dortmund also reach the Champions League semi final, eventually getting knocked out by Man City, and the final of the cup, against Bayern.Somehow, against all odds, Dortmund go in to the final week of the season with a chance to do the double, and remarkably, Dortmund lose to Hoffenheim and Borussia Monchengladbach claim the title by a point, before Bayern Munich thump Dortmund 4-0 in the cup final. Still, it was nice to dream!
Unfortunately, I think the any realistic chance Dortmund had of winning the Bundesliga this season went away after the loss to Hoffenheim at the end of the hinrunde.
The squad definitely has the talent to win the league, but they were too inconsistent in the first half and I don’t see that consistency improving in the second half. RasenBallsport look to be too far ahead and while I think they will stumble in the rückrunde at some point, I don’t think it will be enough for Dortmund to make up the 7 point difference. I also think that Lucien Favre just doesn’t have a league title in him as a manager.
That being said, I think Dortmund definitely has a realistic shot at finishing in the top 4 and earning a spot in the Champions League next season. Assuming that both RasenBallsport and the Borg finish in the top 4, that leaves two UCL spots up for grabs, likely to be contested among 4 teams: Dortmund, Smurfs, Gladbach, and Leverkusen.
Given that Dortmund’s squad is still really good, and the fact that they had virtually all their difficult away league matches in the hinrunde, I think Dortmund eventually ends up in 3rd.
Yes, Bremen knocked Dortmund out of the cup in the Round of 16 last season and yes, the match is on the road at the Weserstadion, but Bremen have not been good thus far this season, particularly defensively, and I think Dortmund advance into the last 8.
After that, it depends on the matchup. If the matchups fall the right way, and with a little bit of luck, this might be Dortmund’s best chance for a trophy this season.
Dortmund are definitely the underdogs in the tie against PSG and knocking them off would be a significant upset. I unfortunately don’t see them getting further in the competition this season.
That being said, PSG aren’t invulnerable, particularly defensively, and if Dortmund play up to their potential, they could have a shot. Several players, particularly Hummels and Zagadou, will be up for this tie, so a trip to the last 8 might not be out of the question.