Ah, October: the month of brisk weather, playoff baseball, and Halloween. Just as the first chilly day and the ever reddening leaves signify the end of summer, in the Bundesliga, by October the preseason rust and any memories of the offseason have faded away. Rust, a new system, a lack of chemistry: none of these excuses are valid anymore. A poor October can kill a season before it starts. Just ask Peter Bosz.
Thankfully, Borussia Dortmund have a stretch of what, on the surface, should be very winnable matches over the coming month. Unfortunately, the one thing I’ve learned over the last five or so seasons of BVB football is that there’s no such thing as a guaranteed Dortmund win, with the club having a tendency to follow up victories against strong opponents with flops against the Bundesliga’s minnows. If Marco Rose wants to prove that his version of Borussia Dortmund is a different one, one that can truly compete for the Bundesliga title, then his team will need to either sweep the league this month, or come darn close.
Borussia Dortmund face four opponents in the Bundesliga in October. Here’s a quick rundown.
Augsburg (October 2nd): Currently sit 15th in the league. Other than shithousing a 1-0 victory against Gladbach, they’ve been basically dreadful, with the fourth worst goal differential and the single worst expected goal differential. Perhaps most embarrassingly, they’ve only mustered two goals across six games.
Mainz (October 16th): Mainz have actually had a decent start to the season, climbing all the way to 6th in the league. The highlight of their season was beating RB Leipzig on the match day one. Most recently, though, they fell 1-0 to Bayer Leverkusen.
Arminia Bielefeld (October 23rd): Yet to win a game, they sit in the relegation zone in 16th place. They’ve only scored three goals and conceded six, so they’ve been the epitome of low-event football.
FC Cologne (October 30th): Arguably the best of the bunch, Cologne have been decent, good enough to keep pace in the race for Europe. They’ve scored 10 goals and conceded 8, and their only defeat was at the hands of Bayern Munich. They also managed three straight draws against tough opponents Freiburg, RB Leipzig, and Eintracht Frankfurt.
Of these four matches, Bielefeld and Augsburg are absolute, unequivocal must-wins. Anything less is unacceptable. Furthermore, while Mainz and Cologne are decent clubs and won’t go down without a fight, BVB should still be favorites to beat them. While a random draw can come out of nowhere, Dortmund should still aim for a clean sweep and 12 points out of a possible 12.
Bayern Munich have a difficult month coming up, with matches against Frankfurt, Leverkusen, Hoffenheim, and Union Berlin on the horizon. They could easily drop points, in which case, BVB absolutely need to take the chance to make up some ground. If they don’t, then the season could be over by Christmas.