Borussia Dortmund picked up another three points on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over Club Brugge in MD4 of UEFA Champions League, inching closer to qualifying for the Round of 16. Erling Haaland, our Norwegian scoring machine, found the back of the net twice while Jadon Sancho scored his first non-penalty goal for Dortmund this season with a beautiful curling free kick into the top corner past Simon Mignolet.
I only have one question today, so here it is…
Is this the deepest Dortmund squad in recent memory?
I was looking over the match report again late last night, and reading over the substitutions, something jumped out at me.
Emre Can subbed in for Thomas Delaney. Mateu Morey (!) subbed on for Thomas Meunier. Felix Passlack subbed on for Raphael Guerreiro. Marco Reus subbed on for Erling Haaland. Julian Brandt subbed on for Gio Reyna.
And those are just the guys that got in. Left on the bench were Axel Witsel, Mahmoud Dahoud and Yousoufa Moukoko.
Is this what it’s like to have actual, quality depth? Ever since Favre took over the squad, there have been constant complaints that he would never rotate and a lot of the players seemed gassed by the second half of the season. But now, looking at the players at Favre’s disposal, there is an embarrassment of riches on this squad. When you can sub on Julian Brandt, a bonafide German international, late in the second half of a match that your team has all but clinched victory, you’ve got a good bench.
And before you say “But Nick, what about defense? That’s still a really weak point on the squad,” I would refer you to a comment FTW writer Brett Bobysud left on yesterday’s Three Observations article:
The only spot where depth is currently an issue is center-back, but that’s only in the traditional back 4 sense. In the back 3, you have guys like Old Man Lukasz, Meunier, or Can who can step in and once Zagadou is back fit, that gives you 3 legit center-back options for the back 4.
So I dare ask the question: Across the board, is this the deepest Dortmund squad in recent memory?
It wasn’t too long ago that we were watching guys like Andriy Yarmolenko, Marius Wolf, Maximilian Philipp, Jacob Bruun Larsen and Andre Schurrle come off the bench or start. They were ok players, but they weren’t the kind of guys who could put you over the top and beat teams like Bayern or Leverkusen with any consistency. Even during the Tuchel era, Dortmund were losing against teams they had no business losing to (cough cough Darmstadt cough cough).
Reinforcements during the Favre years have unquestionably strengthened the squad into one of the most fearsome attacks and one of low-key stingiest defenses in the Bundesliga. Even guys who came and left like Paco Alcacer and Achraf Hakimi were of a very high caliber and were impact players for a squad that has been challenging Bayern for a league title for the last nine years. You can even take a look at Passlack and Dahoud, who both were either sent out on consecutive loan spells (Passlack) or were perennial bench players (Dahoud). These two have surprised everyone and are big contributors for Dortmund this season.
Could this depth be the key to Dortmund finally pulling through and lifting a Bundesliga trophy? If the team can stay healthy/COVID-free and other teams around the top stumble like Bayern and Leipzig did this past weekend, then the Meisterschale could be in the possession of Borussia Dortmund this season.
Let me know what questions you’ve got, or even your answers, following the win over Club Brugge.