It’s definitely been a challenging year for Borussia Dortmund. They currently find themselves in the relegation zone of the Bundesliga table, along with SC Freiburg. Controversially, in the same time, they have qualified to the Last 16 of the Champions League, finishing atop their group. They will play Juventus on February 24 in Turin. After a horrific first half of the season in the Bundesliga, Dortmund had 4 wins, 3 draws and 10 losses. Quite a season!
BVB manager Jurgen Klopp’s battle is far from over. Even after all that went down, there was no talk from the fans or the management to replace the desperate manager. That shows the complete dedication and support he will have in the coming half of the season. Dortmund’s fans have, once again, been proven to always show phenomenal support through thick and thin.
The Bundesliga’s official site had a vote last week: will Dortmund qualify to Europe this season? About 42% of voters think they can, the other 58% having less confidence.
The Bundesliga’s break was quite long, and the team took advantage of it, training very hard to come back stronger than ever in La Manga during the club’s Spanish training camp. Dortmund, back home now, are desperate to show their progress and have in fact demonstrated a change in performance already during their many club friendlies, having won them all. The test match today against Fortuna Dusseldorf will show exactly how ready they are.
BVB also looked for fresh players to aid them and put the first half behind them. They signed Kevin Kampl on a five year contract for a €12 million fee. Kampl scored his first goal in a club friendly against FC Utrecht this week.
Kevin Kampl’s role in the moment is critical. He is actually a childhood BVB fan. He commented the following about his transfer: “This move is a dream come true for me, I’ve supported Dortmund since I was a boy.” He is known to be an assist king, and that is where BVB hopes Kampl will contribute the most, collaborating with Marco Reus so that one is the creator and the other the finisher. If he succeeds in creating a partnership with Reus, he will be a great asset to the team.
Marco Reus is back on the field after his latest injury and is participating in all training. After suffering from several injuries, he not only missed out on Germany’s World Cup win, but on a big part of the first half of the season. Now, however, he is ready to come back, and is working on being 100% fit. In his words: “we’re going back to Dortmund with a positive feeling”. Reus has been the center of attention lately because of his great skills that make him wanted by major clubs. He also has been linked with a move to Real Madrid who are willing to pay $25m for the German attacking midfielder. BVB’s fans will be relieved to hear that Reus’s agent denied all these rumors and explained once again that Reus is focusing right now on each game and on how to get out of the crisis his team is in. He also talks about the new addition of Kampl: “He’s cool under pressure, isn’t afraid of taking on his man and will stay tight to the man he’s marking. That’s important for us and I think Kevin has a big part to play and will help us in the second round.” If that is in fact true, we can all hope that we will soon see a new Dortmund, and forget all that has happened lately.
Another Dortmund player, Sebastian Kehl who is set to retire in the end of this current season is out for four weeks with a separated shoulder. Kevin Großkreutz however, who also tore an ankle ligament, might return next week and start in the match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Mats Hummels, BVB’s captain and Germany’s Weltmeister confirms his dedication to Dortmund and that he does not have to play in Europe (and he has, in fact, rejected Manchester United’s offer). He has been forced to finally react to the rumors after four major clubs have been rumored to want him: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United. Fans are quite satisfied to hear their captain say that, as Hummels is one of the best and most demanded defenders and Dortmund could not afford such a big blow of losing him. He has commented that he will not leave his team even if some teammates of his are.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said about Ilkay Gundogan. Many teams have offered him a contract and it is unclear what his decision is. As a very strong and influential member with BVB, who could replace him? Shinji Kagawa is definitely up to the challenge. In 2012, he was named the Asian Football Confederation International Player of the Year.
Ciro Immobile also comes to mind. The 24-year-old Italian striker is essential for Dortmund’s improvement. He has performed well, despite all that is happening and has been a regular scorer both in Bundesliga and in the Champions League. He scored four goals in five Champions League matches.
Let’s not forget their forward Aubameyang who has scored 12 goals in the season, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan who will be back shortly from injury.
With thislong list of players coming back from injury, superstars sticking to their team and a new signing, we can see a brighter future for Borussia Dortmund. Whether they will be able to recover completely and qualify to Europe or only succeed in coming out of the relegation zone is unknown but an improvement is definite.