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Borussia Dortmund v 1. FC Köln - Bundesliga

FTW Season Predictions: The Borussia Dortmund Edition

Who will lead BVB to (moderate, possibly not trophy-based) glory this season?

Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

Having discussed our predictions for the Bundesliga earlier in the week, the Fear the Wall writers participating in this roundtable have all shown our hand a little bit. It’s clear that none of us really see BVB winning the league this season, while we all expect Dortmund to at least be in the top four. Perhaps we will have more luck in the cups?

Well that’s what we’re here to discuss today. Having given our verdict on the Bundesliga, we are now here to make some bold predictions about what BVB’s season will look like. Will there be any silverware? Which player will lead the charge in black and yellow? And who will show us that they’re not a total scrub? Lets find out!

League & Cup Performance

RB Leipzig v Eintracht Frankfurt - DFB Cup Final Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Yash: Bundesliga - 2nd; DFB Pokal - Final; Champions League - Round of 16

I find it hard to believe that we’ll finish outside the top three this season. I think it is highly unlikely we will topple Bayern, but even more unlikely that we finish outside the top three.

The cup competitions are more interesting, however; I think this team has more than enough quality to pull through in knockout games, but we lack the squad depth to challenge in the Champions League and I think we’re more likely to be Europa League finalists than Champions League quarter finalists. The DFB-Pokal may have eluded us for the last couple of seasons, but I think we’re just one favorable draw away from winning the whole thing, and I figure we have a solid shot at featuring in the final.

Paul: Bundesliga - 2nd; DFB-Pokal - Semi Finals; Champions League - Round of 16

I think this will be a bit of a down year for Dortmund on account of having taken a small step back in terms of the quality all over the pitch, compared against the improvements that teams around them have made. I think they will ultimately still end up finishing 2nd in the Bundesliga, but I think they will be fighting off Leipzig all season long, and they won’t get close enough to Bayern Munich to mount the sort of title challenge we saw last season. In reality, I wouldn’t be shocked if Leipzig leapfrogged them. I think the probability of BVB finishing third is higher than the probability of them finishing 1st.

As to the cups, I think Dortmund are still a little too light defensively to have serious expectations of them winning silverware. They are more than capable of beating just about anybody, but they’re vulnerable enough that the change of something going wrong is always too high, and that usually ends up telling in a knockout tournament. With the rub of the green, they could easily go all the way in the Pokal though.

Sean: Bundesliga - 2nd; DFB-Pokal - Champions; Champions League - Out in the Group Stage; Europa League - Champions❤️!!!

I don’t have a ton of confidence in Edin Terzic’s overall capabilities as a manager, but for some reason he seems consistently able to get this club to rise to the occasion in knockout tournaments. The Champions League might be too much to handle, but when we flame out in the group stage, fall to third place, and move to the Europa League knockout rounds, ol’ Terzic will kick himself into a new gear, and we will win the weirdest double in club history.

Joey: Bundesliga - 3rd; DFB-Pokal - Round of 16; Champions League - Quarterfinals

It is hard to imagine we can win the league this term. BVB’s 71 points last season was a step above the previous season’s 69 points, but even in 2018/19, when Dortmund accrued 76 points, that still amounted to a second placed finish. Over the last eight seasons, Bayern has finished in the high seventies or low eighties. Last season’s 71-point tally was their lowest since 2010-11 season. As a result, I think Dortmund will be more focused on defending their place in the top four than challenging for the title.

My predictions for the cup come down to Dortmund’s luck. I think this year is going to be one of those where BVB have to face Bremen in the cup or crash out to a second division side. As for the Champions League, I’m thankful we are in Pot 2 with Real Madrid and therefore will avoid a clash with Jude Bellingham. This is Dortmund’s year to receive a favorable draw, win the group stage, and fight their way to the last eight.

Player of the Season

Yash: Julian Brandt

My head’s telling me to pick Gregor Kobel (or Sebastien Haller, even), but my heart can’t ignore our floppy-haired magician, Julian Brandt. Until his late-season blip last season, I think few could argue that he wasn’t one of our most important players, and, when fit and firing, he makes everyone around him better. In the post-Bellingham season, more of the creative burden will fall on his shoulders and, if he can carry on the stunning mid-season form that saw him win the league player of the month awards for both January and February, he’ll be right up there in the player of the season conversation next May.

Paul: Karim Adeyemi

I think the safe bet here is obviously Gregor Kobel. He was Dortmund’s best player last season, and I expect him to continue his excellent form this season too. However, I think Karim Adeyemi could give him a run for his money. Adeyemi showed flashes of real superstar potential last season, and if he can get a good run of games under his belt early on, I think he might explode in the second half of the season.

Sean: Sebastian Haller

It took a while for Sebastien Haller to get going after recovering from his cancer surgery, but his stats line last season was pretty good. Among all players with more than 1,000 minutes in the Bundesliga, Haller finished a very impressive 5th place in goals + assists/90. I could easily see him scoring 20+ goals this year if he manages to stay healthy.

Joey: Emre Can

I believe Emre Can will solidify himself as the vital holding midfielder he was last season for BVB. Dortmund’s new captain has matured a lot under Terzic’s guidance. Can brings an intense physicality to the game that I think will combine well with Marcel Sabitzer in midfield. I think it’s going to take a few weeks for Dortmund’s ‘new-look’ midfield to really find their groove, but when they do, Emre Can will very much be a part of that.

Signing of the Season

Yash: Marcel Sabitzer

We’ve lost two crucial players this summer and signed three to replace them. Marcel Sabitzer stands out above the rest as an experienced, well-rounded player who fits Dortmund’s football like a glove. Hard-working, intelligent and technically gifted, he can do a job as an eight, a ten, or out wide. While his fitness could prove to be an issue as the season wears on, he could be the perfect player for Terzic’s high-energy, fluid attacking system.

Borussia Dortmund v 1. FC Köln - Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

Paul: Marcel Sabitzer

I have a hard time looking past Marcel Sabitzer for our signing of the season. He’s a very classy technician capable of operating in any role in the middle of the park, and I’d expect a significant chunk of our ball progression this season to run through the Austrian. Sabitzer will act as a deeper creative spark in midfield, at the same time as getting a lot of shots for a midfielder of his profile. To top it all off, he’s a net positive out of possession too. I think he’s going to be fantastic.

Sean: Marcel Sabitzer*

*Unless we sign Bella-Kotchap

Joey: Marcel Sabitzer

I’ve been underwhelmed by Felix Nmecha and Ramy Bensebaini so far, but I’ve always respected Marcel Sabitzer’s skill, especially the instrumental role he played in RB Leipzig’s rise a few seasons ago. I think Sabitzer is ready to re-establish himself as one of the Bundesliga’s best midfielders. I still can’t believe this signing happened.

Most Improved Player

Yash: Youssoufa Moukoko

I was going to go with either Donyell Malen or Karim Adeyemi (both of whom really came into their own after the World Cup), but I firmly believe Youssoufa Moukoko’s ceiling is miles higher. He’s already shown he’s got game-changing ability and, in Terzic, he has a coach with whom he has a good relationship. Hopefully he gets the minutes he both needs and deserves this season.

Honourable mention goes out to Julien Duranville, the frighteningly talented winger we signed from Anderlecht’s academy. Already blessed with bags of flair and searing pace, he’s also shown flashes of real footballing intelligence, which is extremely uncommon for flair players at that age. Let’s hope he doesn’t get lost on the depth chart; we’ve got a few too many wide forwards this season. The other player I think we could see massive improvement from is Schlotti.

Paul: Donyell Malen

I found Most Improved Player the toughest of the BVB predictions, but I’ve decided to go for Donyell Malen. Although Malen had a huge second half of the season, he hasn’t yet shown a consistency that would force us to adjust our expectations. I think this season could be that season.

If Malen performs like he did in the Rückrunde he will still be a positive contributor to the team, but I think there’s room for him to do even more. He has already kicked the season off with two goals and two assists, in just two games, across all competitions.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Sean: Youssoufa Moukoko

Moukoko is already a fine player, but this year I could see him firmly establish himself as a starting striker in the Bundesliga.

Joey: Gio Reyna

This might be something of a long shot here, but Gio Reyna has shown he can make a tremendous impact in the Bundesliga, especially when he comes off the bench. I think this will be the year that Gio finally puts his injury struggles behind him and finds the consistency that many of us know he’s capable of. The young American should be eager to fight for his place in the starting XI, and if he stays fit for more than a couple of months, then we’ll have a special talent on our hands.


Your Thoughts?

How badly will we bottle it this time? Is Julien Duranville the next big thing? Which of our signings are you most excited for? Let us know!

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