As we head in to the second half of the season, and Favre’s second decade in charge of Dortmund, now seems like the right time to take stock and analyze what we have seen so far. Dortmund fans came into the new campaign with high expectations, after Swiss Super Daddy Lucien Favre took the team to within 1 point of Bayern last season, and Watzke & Zorc followed up with a summer of exciting transfers. But instead of building on that momentum, Dortmund have looked woefully inconsistent.
Given that fans expected Dortmund to mount a serious challenge for the Meisterschale, it is natural that reaching the halfway stage in 4th place, trailing table-toppers RB Leipzig by 7 points, is a bitter disappointment. However, last year is a reminder of why we can’t draw too many conclusions from half a season’s worth of results. Dortmund got off to a brilliant start, and fans started to dream of another title, but over the course of the season they weren’t quite good enough. There were signs that the early performances were unsustainable, but it is hard not to get carried away.
That is why it makes sense to take stock at the halfway point. It would be easy to write this team off based on the results so far, but what does the underlying data tell us? Perhaps everything is well, Dortmund are good, and Erling Haaland is going to fire BVB to a historic treble. Or maybe Dortmund are trash and Haaland will get mauled by Roy Keane’s dog Trigg while he’s out for a run.
Over the course of the next 10 days, I will take a look at the season so far, and try to answer some of these questions. I will split the analysis into several bite-size (meaning slightly less than a Tolkien passage describing an inconsequential meadow) articles that should shed some light on Dortmund’s season and what to expect in the Ruckrunde. First, I will look at BVB’s Hinrunde performances, comparing them with their closest rivals. I will then analyze Favre’s time in charge, attempting to identify the root causes of Dortmund’s problems. Following this, I will take a look back through the last few seasons and consider how this campaign compares with recent years. Finally, I will dig a little deeper than team performance and take a look at some of the best and worst individual performances in the first half of the season.