Borussia Dortmund are a team under the weather currently, the German giants have only managed seven points from their opening eight games of the Bundesliga season. This has left Jürgen Klopp’s men fourteenth in the league and already a mile behind their rivals Bayern Munchen.
Dortmund have lost four games, and it’s not as if they have had a bad fixture list either. Even struggling Hamburg were able to find three points against this enigma of a Dortmund side. Signs are there that the defence is more fragile than it once was, but with the lack of a world class striker up the other end, Dortmund now cannot rely on the magnificent Robert Lewandowski.
The poor start has been regularly linked to the lack of fit first team players which dates back over the last couple of seasons. This campaign alone has seen Gündoğan, Şahin, Blaszczykowski, Mkhitaryan, and the wonderful Reus all hit by bad injuries. Attacking players aren’t the only problem and both Subotić and Schmelzer have also been out. If any team had this many absentees it would affect their performance.
Ever changing line ups due to injuries always makes it difficult for a team to gel and find any sort of rhythm. Along with this, Klopp is trying to integrate two new strikers into the team in Immobile and Ramos. Both represent good value for money but perhaps filling Lewandowski’s boots is a little too much pressure at this early stage.
Doom and gloom can often take over, and Klopp will be keen to reiterate how well his team has performed in the Champions League. Three straight wins all with clean sheets have seen Dortmund dominate their group. Every performance has been outstanding but most notably the win against Arsenal.
The contrast in performance between league and cup draws the question how can injuries be such an issue. If you can smash Arsenal and Galatasaray in such convincing fashion why can’t you beat so called smaller teams in the Bundesliga.
There is a hint that Klopp may have an unhealthy obsession with the Champions League – ever since Dortmund won the Bundesliga two season on the trot, Bayern have hit back hard and almost forced Dortmund into a cup team. Dortmund do not possess the budget nor the squad of their rivals thus making it difficult to compete over a long season for the league. Klopp since has turned Dortmund into a massive force in Europe and there are not many teams that would not fear them.
Runners up two season ago they have continued to perform highly despite being grouped with very challenging teams. The players themselves express a far harder work rate within this competition too. Klopp has such an influence on his players and they love playing for him and it just seems at times they are happy to compete for cups until they can find the depth to once again match Bayern.
Klopp needs his players to be fit and developing especially as many of them are so young. Injuries are definitely playing a part, but it seems to be a mixture of minor issues that are holding this Dortmund side back. If Klopp can keep this team together over the next couple of seasons he will see these players develop into world class talents, add to that astute signings like Kagawa and Ramos, the yellow wall will surely be back challenging for the Bundesliga crown again.