Have you ever set a New Year’s Resolution? For those of you who are unaware, a New Year’s Resolution is a goal you set to improve yourself in the New Year. They are typically unrealistic and short-lived. Every year, millions of people around the World optimistically enroll in free trials for new gym memberships, only for those same memberships to go un-renewed when February rolls around, thus continuing the futile and inevitable cycle of life.
Speaking of things that are inevitably futile, Borussia Dortmund’s long-awaited season restart is just over the horizon, and there are many things that the club needs to do if it wishes to improve upon the first half of the season. Here are three of the biggest things I believe Dortmund will need to do to be successful in the Spring:
#1: Show Up *Every* Game
As much as we complain about Borussia Dortmund, and as anemic as the squad’s performances in the Bundesliga have been thus far, we all know that when the players actually decide to get out of bed and put in their strongest effort, they can go toe-to-toe with anybody. They showed it with two matches against Manchester City where they were arguably the better team, even though they only took away one point from both games. They showed this against Bayern Munich, against whom they successfully mounted a two-goal comeback in the final thirty minutes of a thrilling match. At the end of which Bayern were holding on for dear life.
But how did Dortmund build on this momentum? What did they do in their very next Bundesliga match? They lost, with a listless 2-0 defeat to Union Berlin, and all the momentum from Anthony Modeste’s equalizer was gone. They also lost 3-0 to RB Leipzig, who had been struggling so badly that they had just sacked their coach and replaced him with Marco Rose. These were important games against major opponents that the team should have brought their A-game, but instead they sleep-walked through them. If the squad can play more consistently, they will drop fewer points in these important matches and will rise higher up the standings as a result.
#2: Improve their Goalscoring Numbers
If you zoom out 30,000 feet, BVB’s season doesn’t look too bad. While being in sixth place in the Bundesliga is not ideal, they’re only five points out of second place, and with a decent winning streak could easily launch themselves back into the title race. They’ve also made it to the Champions League Round of 16 and are still alive in the DfB Pokal. However, if you look at a lot of the underlying numbers, it’s clear that there are problems for BVB.
If you look at BVB’s goalscoring numbers, they look much more like a midtable team than any kind of title-contender. Their goal differential, a measly +4, pales in comparison to Bayern Munich’s +39, and is tied with three other teams for 5th place in the Bundesliga. Their mediocre differential is largely driven by their anemic goalscoring record. BVB are only on pace for 56 goals, which would be the club’s worst goal tally since the disastrous 2014-15 season.
Dortmund’s expected goal numbers are a little better, at +5.6 for 4th place in the Bundesliga, but again are closer to the rest of the Bundesliga than Bayern Munich. It signals that a sudden improvement in finishing is not going to change things. There are systemic problems with BVB’s squad, and they’re going to take systemic solutions to fix them.
#3: Stay Healthy Please
The injuries have to stop. They just have to. I’m not even talking about Sebastien Haller’s cancer diagnosis— that’s just a freak accident of nature that you can’t prevent. I’m talking about the constant muscle injuries that seem to disproportionately impact Borussia Dortmund. Almost every player on the squad has had to miss significant time at one point or another. While every team deals with injuries to one extent or another, the nonstop barrage of injuries in Dortmund has been nothing short of debilitating. This squad desperately needs to stay healthy if it’s going to compete for the Bundesliga or Champions League in the remaining months of the season.
What Are Your New Year’s Resolutions For The Team?
Do you have New Year’s Resolutions for Borussia Dortmund? Do you want to see the club sign a specific player? More goals? Maybe a trophy? Let us know! While you’re at it, feel free to write down your 2023 resolutions so we can all hold you accountable when you stop going to the gym in the middle of February!