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Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig - Bundesliga Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Fear the Roundtable: Postseason Awards

It’s awards time! Time to celebrate the best, and worst, from the past season.

With just over a month since Borussia Dortmund’s final game of the 2022/23 season, it’s time to look back at the highlights and the lowlights of the season in the annual Fear The Wall Award ceremony. Much like the Oscars, we have injected a hearty amount of bias in our arbitrary choices so everyone leaves unhappy. Now, you can read our selections and vote in the polls for each section. Do you agree with our choices? Are we crazy? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Dortmund’s Player of the Season

Patrick: Jude Bellingham

Jude Bellingham was undoubtedly the Bundesliga player of the season and earned both the Official Bundesliga Player of the Year trophy and a whopping $140 million (with add ons) move to Real Madrid. He and Kobel were the only two players that were genuinely lights-out the entire campaign, rather than just the second half, and I think Dortmund will really miss him going forward.

Sean: Emre Can

Who? What? Really? Sean, what are you smoking?

Jude Bellingham may have been the most talented player on Dortmund’s roster last year, but especially in the second half, Emre Can emerged as the club’s de facto leader on and off the pitch and was a major reason that Dortmund came as close as they did to winning a title. He played practically every minute down the stretch in many different positions, putting in consistent play each and every week.

Paul: Jude Bellingham

I had a really hard time deciding between Kobel and Bellingham for this one. I think either are a very good shout.

Ultimately, I have gone for Bellingham for sentimental reasons. It’s a nice story for Bellingham to finish on this personal high note of winning the most prestigious individual award in football. Kobel’s time will come.

Anders: Gregor Kobel

I’m not even trying to deliberately differentiate myself here in any way. I genuinely think Kobel was our best player this season. Kobel is everything you could ask for in a modern goalkeeper. He’s demanding in the box, confident in his sweeping abilities, great with his feet, good in build-up and and absolutely immense in 1-on-1 duels. Kobel has saved us more times this season than I can count. Not since... Lehmann? Have we had such a good keeper between the sticks. Quite understandable why every major Premier League side is looking his way.


Dortmund’s Player of the Season?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Jude Bellingham
    (125 votes)
  • 8%
    Emre Can
    (19 votes)
  • 36%
    Gregor Kobel
    (82 votes)
226 votes total Vote Now

Signing of the Season

Patrick: Nico Schlotterbeck

I think Sean and Paul, who you will read in a moment, have a point when they argue that Karim Adeyemi is Dortmund’s most promising young player but in my eyes, Nico Schlotterbeck was Dortmund’s signing of the season. He was immense for Borussia Dortmund this season and is set up to become a centerpiece in the starting lineup for years to come, if someone doesn’t swoop him on. Schlotterbeck did everything you want from a modern centerback; he is fantastic in 1v1s, can read the game well, is dominant in the air, and is great in possession. Even as a centerback, he had nine goal involvements including the game tying assist to Modeste in Dortmund’s first match against Bayern Munich.

I like Schlotterbeck a lot and I think if he stays at Dortmund for a long time, he’ll go down as one of the greats.

Sean: Karim Adeyemi

For the first few months, Adeyemi looked like he could be the biggest bust of the season. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, he did a complete 180 and became one of the league’s most dangerous wingers in the span of a few weeks. He finished the season with six goals and five assists in only about 1500 minutes of play, with almost all of those coming in the vital matches down the stretch of the season. If he can replicate his form from the spring over all of next season, then he will legitimately light the league on fire.

Paul: Karim Adeyemi

I think Adeyemi showed that he’s the most promising young player in Dortmund (now that Jude is living in Spain). He didn’t get off to a brilliant start, but once he found his feet he was electric.

Anders: Julian Ryerson

There’s a real argument to be made, that if you analyze the transfer window from a cost/benefit perspective, Ryerson might truly be our best signing this year. After arriving in January, Ryerson settled into the team right away and he has occupied both both the right back and left back position when Marius Wolf and Rapha Guerreiro weren’t up for the task. Has he been spectacular in any way? No, absolutely not. But do you know what he has been? Consistent. If he can manage to raise his floor going into next season, he could truly become one very good fullback — and those are hard to find. Oh, and also. Since Kehl decided to buy the Norwegian, he has basically doubled his value.


Signing of the Season?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Nico Schlotterbeck
    (106 votes)
  • 32%
    Karim Adeyemi
    (70 votes)
  • 14%
    Julian Ryerson
    (30 votes)
  • 3%
    (7 votes)
213 votes total Vote Now

Biggest Bust of the Season

Patrick: Anthony Modeste

It just has to be Modeste. It’s not entirely fair; he was a 6 million euro striker signed as a complete reaction to Haller’s cancer diagnosis and Dortmund’s system demands a lot more from a striker than Koln’s did. Still, as a stereotypical poacher like Modeste is, he really let the team down when he was called upon and missed several easy chances during his time in Black and Yellow. He seems like a nice guy though and I wish him luck wherever he ends up!

Sean: Anthony Modeste

Unfortunately, Modeste did not provide the scoring boost that BVB needed, but his goal against Bayern Munich almost made up for it all.

Paul: Salih Özcan

I’ll be honest, I think Anthony Modeste is the correct choice here, but the purpose of the roundtable is to, where possible, present a few different views. While Modeste may ultimately take the crown for his incredibly lacklustre performances (owing in part due to his poor fit in this team), I think the biggest disappointment was Özcan. Özcan felt like he could and should contribute a lot to BVB’s midfield, and so far he’s shown very little promise.

Anders: Anthony Modeste

This guy really joined, scored one of the most iconic goals in BVB-history and then dipped. Absolute madness. Good luck to him wherever he goes next!


Biggest Bust?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Anthony Modeste
    (148 votes)
  • 22%
    Salih Özcan
    (45 votes)
  • 2%
    (4 votes)
197 votes total Vote Now

Moment of the Season

Patrick: Final Whistle vs. Mainz on Matchday 34

When I think of ‘Moment of the Season’ I think of something season defining. When the final whistle blew on Matchday 34, that moment felt decade defining. While the realization that this would not be ‘the year’ despite coming so tantalizingly close set in amongst everyone, something else happened: the fans within the stadium stayed behind the players and cheered for them in full voice. Instead of outrage and anger, which I’m sure some would argue is justified, the fans stayed with their team and there is just something amazing about that to me. It was a reminder of why I’m sure a lot of us chose to become Dortmund fans.

Sean: Anthony Modeste’s Equalizer vs Bayern

Do I need to say anything else? It started with a brilliant effort by Nico Schlotterbeck to keep the ball in play and cross the ball to Anthony Modeste, who proceeded to do what he has made his living doing in the Bundesliga for years.

Paul: BVB’s 3-0 Win vs. Augsburg

At this moment I felt like BVB were actually going to do it. The emotions among the fanbase after this game, and going into the final game of the season, were an experience.

Anders: Also Anthony Modeste’s Equalizer vs Bayern

Sorry guys, but iconic moments stay iconic. I still remember the exact minute leading up to this goal like it was yesterday, and I probably won’t forget it. Ever. This moment was pushed to being even greater by the great Danish commentary I was watching the game with. As Danish commentator, Per Frimann, said after the game: “I don’t think we’ll experience anything like this ever again. I really want to. But I doubt it’ll happen”.


Moment of the Season

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    Final Whistle vs. Mainz
    (55 votes)
  • 58%
    Anthony Modeste’s Equalizer vs. Bayern
    (102 votes)
  • 6%
    BVB’s 3-0 win vs. Augsburg
    (12 votes)
  • 2%
    (5 votes)
174 votes total Vote Now

Best Performance of the Season

Patrick: Dortmund 5-1 Freiburg

To provide some context as a reminder: Following the World Cup break, Dortmund scrapped by Augsburg and Mainz with two last minute goals. Then they beat a lackluster Leverkusen and it felt like the team was getting everyone’s hopes up as they charging up the table. Their next opponent was Freiburg, a team that was doing well in the Bundesliga and tied with Dortmund for fourth place. What followed, was an absolute beatdown in front of the home crowd where Dortmund ran away as 5-1 winners after two red cards to Freiburg players, including one to their coach for dissent. It felt like the encapsulation of everything that went right for Borussia Dortmund this season.

There were five different scorer - Schlotterbeck, Adeyemi, Brandt, Reyna, and Haller. Haller’s goal was his first competitive goal for Borussia Dortmund and it came on World Cancer day.

Sean: Dortmund 6-0 Wolfsburg

This was genuinely the moment that made me think we could win the league. The way Dortmund took Wolfsburg, a decent team, and absolutely tore them to shreds made me think that BVB could win out and catch Bayern slipping. While Bayern did just that against RB Leipzig on match day 33, BVB ultimately couldn’t match their performance against Wolfsburg when it mattered most.

Paul: Dortmund 6-0 Wolfsburg

Anders: Augsburg 0-3 Dortmund

It’s matchday 33. Leipzig had just handed Dortmund a lifeline in the title race by beating Bayern Munich, and now it was all in the hands of The Black and Yellows who travelled to Augsburg the day after. Apart from the last game against Mainz, this was the most tense game, especially because Dortmund didn’t break the deadlock until the 58th minute. After all that had happened against Stuttgart, everyone was worried that this would turn into another flop, but the team convincingly overcame a very tricky Augsburg side to once again put it all into their own hands again.


Best Performance?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Dortmund 5-1 Freiburg
    (19 votes)
  • 66%
    Dortmund 6-0 Wolfsburg
    (105 votes)
  • 18%
    Augsburg 0-3 Dortmund
    (30 votes)
  • 3%
    (5 votes)
159 votes total Vote Now

Worst Moment of the Season

Patrick: Monchengladbach Beating Dortmund 4-2

Not only was this match one where Dortmund got thoroughly outplayed by an opponent with less talent, it was also the last game before the World Cup break. The team was outplayed by a struggling Monchengladbach who scored 4 goals in 46 minutes against a pretty much first-choice Dortmund team. Dortmund ended the day in sixth place and nine points behind Bayern Munich. It really felt like the season was over before it even started and I remember the following two month wait until the resumption of Dortmund games being filled with less excitement than usual.

Sean: Dortmund Blow 2-0 Lead to Werder Bremen in Six Minutes

In a season filled with awful moments, any and all of which helped lose Dortmund the title, this one really takes the cake. When you’re leading by two goals in the 89th minute, you absolutely have to close out the game. Those are mistakes that championship teams simply do not make.

The icing on the cake was that this match was the first game I ever watched live with the BVB fan club in DC. The second one? The Gregor Kobel missed-the-ball match.

Paul: FC Köln Concede Late & Lose Versus Bayern Munich

I went into the final game of the season feeling optimistic about BVB’s chances, but realistic about the fact the job was far from done yet. I didn’t expect things to come apart at the seams quite as quickly, nor spectacularly, as they did in Dortmund, but as soon as that started to happen I felt okay adjusting my expectations.

The bit that got me, however, was the late FC Köln goal that gave BVB fans hope. Despite the Black and Yellows collapsing on the final matchday, Köln’s equalizer in the 81st minute looked like it could have provided one last swing in the title race, gifting Dortmund the title in the stupidest possible fashion. Sadly, ten minutes is a long time for an underdog trying to hold on against one of the best teams in the world, especially when they’ve got everything to play for. Musiala’s last minute title-winning goal was wounding.

Anders: Stuttgart Managing a 3-3 draw with one man down

I really dread having to remember this game again. Apart from the game on matchday 34, this was by far the most depressing one for me. And yes — the draws against Schalke and the loss against Bremen were both pretty bad, but the Stuttgart game just had a whole different feel to it. Everything basically went wrong, and I think the substation of Mats Hummels for Soumaïla Coulibaly was especially rough — both in terms of the result, but also in terms of how it all turned out after then young Frenchman came on. Terzic were shouting at the team after this game. Watzke and Kehl were in the dressing room shouting as well. Just an overall horrific game that I’m glad I don’t have to live through again.


Worst Moment of the Season

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    4-2 Loss vs. BMG
    (4 votes)
  • 24%
    Dortmund Blow 2-0 Lead to Bremen
    (42 votes)
  • 15%
    FC Köln Concede Late & Lose Versus Bayern Munich
    (27 votes)
  • 50%
    Stuttgart Managing a 3-3 draw with one man down
    (87 votes)
  • 7%
    (13 votes)
173 votes total Vote Now

‘Other’ Bundesliga Team of the Season

Patrick: Union Berlin

Pretty much a fairytale campaign for Union Berlin - they qualified for the UCL and even led the league at portions during the first half of the season. I’m sure they were hoping for a better ending rather than finishing in fourth place but they exceeded all expectations.

Sean: Union Berlin

Paul: Union Berlin

Anders: Union Berlin

I mean, what is there to say? Urs Fischers side just keeps getting better and better, and they fully deserve their spot in the Champions League next season. Speaking of that, I’m looking very much forward to watch Champions League football at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. It will be iconic.


‘Other’ Bundesliga Team

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    Union Berlin
    (144 votes)
  • 1%
    RB Leipzig
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    (13 votes)
  • 2%
    (4 votes)
163 votes total Vote Now

‘Other’ Bundesliga Player of the Season

Patrick: Kolo Muani

Any Frankfurt fan will tell you- they got this guy as a free agent before the season started. He then proceeded to put on 15 goals and 11 assists throughout 32 matches on a Frankfurt team that really struggled, especially during the second half of the season. I’ve heard from some fans that it felt like he was the only one trying in the second half of the season and I’m bummed he didn’t finish the year with a DFB pokal trophy.

Sean: Jamal Musiala

I hate picking a Bayern player, but Musiala has really been a revelation, and at the ripe age of 20, he’s only going to get better. He finished second behind Kolo Muani in goal contributions in fewer minutes, which concluded with a dramatic title-deciding goal against Cologne on the final match day.

Paul: Jamal Musiala

Southampton youth-product Jamal Musiala is very, very good. I wish he didn’t play for Bayern Munich.

Anders: Frederik Rønnow

I can’t let the fact that Union Berlin finished freaking fourth this season go unnoticed. And one of the main reasons they did so was because of their 30-year old keeper, Frederik Rønnow. I honestly have no clue how Kasper Schmeichel is still above Rønnow in the Danish national team hierarchy. Apart from Kobel, Rønnow was far and away the best keeper in the league this past season, and his floor has just risen repentantly in recent years. A quick look at Rønnow’s stats for the season proves that he was a very reliable last line of defense for Die Eiseren. Unions forth place was a collective effort, but Rønnow surely had a big stake in it.


‘Other’ Bundesliga Player

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    Kolo Muani
    (77 votes)
  • 42%
    Jamal Musiala
    (66 votes)
  • 7%
    Frederik Rønnow
    (12 votes)
155 votes total Vote Now

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