Recently Borussia Dortmund have been hitting the headlines and are a club on the up, with them winning the double last season and topping the so called ‘Group of Death’ Champions League group. Dortmund seem to be concentrating a little more on Europe’s biggest prize and fair play to them, but their domestic form is suffering and it will be an extremely difficult task to overhaul a huge gap already established between them and Bayern. Some have already written off Dortmund’s chances in the Bundesliga, but in contrast some are backing them to go all the way in the Champions League. So will Dortmund’s excellent Champions League form prove to be a fatal blow in the Bundesliga?
Last season, Dortmund didn’t perform so well in the Champions League and finished 4th in their group, which also contained Arsenal, Olympiakos and Marseille. But they made up for their unsuccessful European campaign by having success on the domestic scene, beating Bayern to the Bundesliga title, as well as claiming the DFB Pokal. This season has seen the exact opposite turn in fortunes in Europe, where they finished top of the group and received many plaudits for their stylish brand of football. The combination of the exciting crop of youngsters that is Reus, Gotze, Hummels and Gundogan have been key players throughout the group stages of the Champions League and even in such a difficult group, Dortmund relished the challenge and performed excellently; going unbeaten in all 6 group stage matches.
The Bundesliga is a league that doesn’t attract attention as much as La Liga and the Premier League, but Dortmund’s almost perfect performances have made some realise the quality that the Bundesliga has. When Dortmund travelled to the Etihad stadium to play Man City in their second group stage match, it was a game where they really showed what a top side they were and the game was unbelievably, so one-sided and truthfully, Dortmund deserved a victory. Their ability to keep possession so well is simply incredible and that is accompanied with a clinical and predatorial edge. With players like Reus, Lewandowski and Gotze in their side, you always feel Dortmund have goals in them, but they also look rather solid at the back and that Hummels and Subotic partnership is one that is very productive. After recording a famous victory over Real Madrid, Dortmund couldn’t have asked for much more, the only thing upholding them was their poor start to the Bundesliga, where they currently lie in 3rd place, 11 points behind leaders Bayern.
It is an extremely difficult task to get the balance right to be able to perform well in both European and domestic competitions and at Dortmund that is what is happening. Their boss Jurgen Klopp is someone that has a huge mission and he obviously feels he that his side can go places and after winning the Bundesliga, their next step was to improve in European Competition and they have certainly done that. They have a reasonably big squad, so playing twice in a week hasn’t been a problem, it’s just been a case of the Champions League being a little more important than the Bundesliga, or it seems to be. Some may think it would be better to focus more on winning your own league, yet others would argue that the Champions League is a much more important trophy to win and it appears to be like that for Jurgen Klopp and his Dortmund troops.
Obviously Barcelona and Real Madrid are the favourites to win the competition, but with Dortmund emerging as top of their difficult group, they have to be considered the outsiders. They really do look like a side that can go far in the Champions League, though that may hinder their chances of securing a 3rd consecutive Bundesliga title.
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