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What Now?

Rangers FC v Borussia Dortmund: Knockout Round Play-Offs Leg Two - UEFA Europa League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Hey folks! Firstly, I want to apologize for not publishing a Daily Bee or match observations for yesterday’s game. I had some unexpected stuff come up last night and was slammed today. We’ll get back to normal match coverage this weekend.

So, Borussia Dortmund are out of the Europa League. Despite entering the competition as one of the favorites to win the entire tournament, BVB couldn’t make it past the first round of the knockout stage, falling to Rangers FC 6-4 on aggregate. I wrote in an article that has aged spectacularly poorly that a knockout round leaves a lot to chance, and that bad luck could overcome a strong performance. In the end, though, Dortmund were both bad and unlucky, and are left trying to determine where the hell to go from here.

There are more than two months remaining in the season, and the fact of the matter is that BVB have almost nothing meaningful left to play for. They’re out of the DFB Pokal. They’re out of the Europa League. Barring a collapse of truly historic proportions, they’ve virtually guaranteed a spot in the top four. I supposed they’ve still got a sliver of a chance to win the Bundesliga—about 4%, according to 538— but that’s it.

I love watching soccer, and I’ve got nothing else to do on Saturday mornings anyway, so I’ll be tuning in the rest of the way. I assume many of you will do the same. But more importantly, what should the club and the front office be looking to accomplish in the final 10 weeks of the season?

#1: Make Bayern Munich earn the Bundesliga title

I’m not going to lie. It’s going to be almost impossible for BVB to win the Bundesliga. Dortmund are six points behind Bayern. This may not seem like an insurmountable gap, but given the fact that Bayern have only dropped 14 points all season, it will be very tough. If they continue to pick up points at their current rate, they will end the season with 81-82 points. BVB currently have 49 points, which means to reach 82 points they will have to win each and every single one of their remaining eleven games.

This also means that if BVB are going to win the Bundesliga, they absolutely have to win Der Klassiker, something they haven’t done since 2018. The best BVB can do is play as hard as they can in every game remaining and let the cards fall as they may. If Bayern slip up, be there to catch them. And for the love of god, please beat them at the Allianz Arena.

#2: Give Youssoufa Moukoko meaningful playing time

Youssoufa Moukoko may not have had the immediate, earth-shattering impact that we thought he would when he first arrived with the senior squad, but it’s clear that the kid had talent and loads of potential to develop further. The issue is that he just hasn’t played a lot: only 394 minutes in the Bundesliga, and that’s spread out over 14 appearances. He’s still managed to score three goals, a respectable scoring rate /90 minutes, and he racks up shots at a rate higher than most seasoned veterans.

I’m not saying you have to throw Moukoko out for 90 minutes every week, but at this point he should be getting more time. Even if he struggles, it will only help him in the long run to become acclimated to the speed and physicality of the Bundesliga.

#3: Figure out who to keep, and who to cut

It’s clear that there are a lot of players at the club who are not at the level that’s necessary for the team to compete for the Bundesliga. There are some star players that are untouchable like ude Bellingham, others that will be gone no matter what like Roman Bürki, and others that the club would catapult into the North Sea if they could. But there are also a few players on the fringes that I believe should be heavily scrutinized during the rest of the season, notably:

  • Thorgan Hazard
  • Raphael Guerreiro
  • Thomas Meunier
  • Mahmoud Dahoud

This isn’t to say that these players have played poorly this season. In fact, Meunier and Dahoud have been two of our better players. But if BVB are going to do a significant squad rebuild, then every player should be scrutinized, and these are four players that I believe need to show more if they want to secure a spot in a title-chasing squad.

#4: Show some goddamn pride

Even when there are no trophies left to be won, these players should still remember that they’re playing for Borussia Dortmund, one of the biggest clubs in Germany and all of Europe. They get paid tens of thousands, and in some cases hundreds of thousands, of euros each week. The very least they could do is give it their all in each and every single game that remains. If they don’t care about winning individual games, they could at least do it for the fans whose ticket fees earn them their pay checks each week.