For Borussia Dortmund, it all came good in the end in 2020/21. At least, it came as good as it could have given the way things looked at the start of the year. Die Schwarzgelben have sealed Champions League football for a sixth successive season whilst also winning a first DFB-Pokal title in four years.
Borussia Dortmund: Renaissance With DFB-Pokal and Top Four
At the start of April, Dortmund looked to be in trouble. They had just lost at home to top-four rivals Eintracht Frankfurt, thanks to a late Andre Silva goal. Edin Terzic’s side were far off the top four in points and looked out of the race. Plus, defeat to Manchester City in the Champions League not long after meant a return to the competition for 2021/22 looked next to impossible.
But since that Frankfurt defeat, Dortmund have won six games in a row in the league. Scoring 17 and conceding just six in that period, Dortmund have remarkably gone from having nimble Champions League hopes to finishing in the top four with room to spare.
In fact, aside from those defeats to City, Dortmund have won every other game in all competitions. That included a semi-final dismantling of Holsten Kiel in the Pokal semi-final, and then shredding RB Leipzig in the Pokal final.
Edin Terzic Uplifts Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund’s upturn in form is due in no small part to the return from injury of Jadon Sancho. The Englishman was sorely missed when he was unavailable and reminded the world of how his return has been fuelling Dortmund with a handful of assists against Mainz at the weekend. But credit also lies with caretaker manager Terzic.
When he replaced Lucien Favre earlier in the year, there were some murmurs of whether or not he might get the job full time. But those rumours quickly went away when Dortmund suffered a downturn in form, and a Champions League place next season was under threat. Much of Dortmund’s games involved being bailed out by the goals of Erling Haaland. Then came the announcement that Marco Rose would take over from Borussia Monchengladbach at the end of the season.
However, Terzic galvanised the side into picking themselves up after those Frankfurt and Manchester City setbacks. Terzic’s role in Dortmund’s recovery can’t be underestimated, and the man who was in the crowd as a fan when they thrashed Bayern in the cup final in 2012 crowned off his effort by winning it as the manager in 2021.
Dortmund’s Future and Marco Rose
In the grand scheme of things, 2020/21 has been a relatively successful season for Borussia Dortmund. Recovering to make the top four, instead of just lingering in it amidst another futile title onslaught, feels more satisfying. Then it’s crowned off with a league title.
But it would be understandable to be cautious over what this means for the club. Too many times in the past few years have Dortmund garnered optimism but failed to use it as a springboard for better. So, it would be naive to expect optimism over next season. Plus, Marco Rose doesn’t exactly seem like the man to steer Dortmund past Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, not immediately at least.
However, Dortmund deserve to celebrate their turnaround this season. Things looked to be coming apart a month ago. Yet, it’s all come full circle, and a feel-good factor currently resides at the Signal Iduna Park.