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Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund – Early season pace setters…Bundesliga Champions?

Various writers and journalists have commented on the unfamiliar picture of the current Bundesliga table, as after eight games, many of the ‘big’ clubs have been faltering whilst one club continues to impress. Borussia Dortmund presently find themselves at the summit of the league after winning seven games in a row following their Spieltag 1 defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Last Friday night’s win over Köln saw Die Schwartzgelben leapfrog FC Mainz 05 to go top; however is this a position they can realistically maintain until the end of the season?

Thus far, Dortmund fans in the raucous Signal Iduna Park and also away from home have witnessed an entertaining brand of football, with plenty of goals, generated by one of the best attacking sides in the league. Although on paper, other Bundesliga sides like Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen appear to have stronger attacking options, the ‘Borussians’ frontline have gelled tremendously well and are a threat to any team they face. Their striking partnership of the dangerous, ever-available Lucas Barrios and tricky, industrious Shinji Kagawa is supported by a useful, attacking midfield including, Kevin Großkreutz, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Nuri Sahin. All of these players have been scoring and are a key factor behind Dortmund’s rise to the top of the table. Each player offers something different in terms of offensive options for BVB, fitting in to the attacking mentality running through the team. This is also something which the Borussia Dortmund CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke recognises, stating that “full throttle is what they do best”. After watching a number of their games this season, the ‘will to win’ within the team is evident, never more so demonstrated than in the stoppage time win over Köln. The man who grabbed the winner, Nuri Sahin, epitomised the way the team have played thus far, showing composure on the ball, attacking flair and a tremendous work ethic.

BVB are past winners of the Bundesliga on six occasions, with their most recent title victory coming in the 2001/02 season. Their current league position has people pondering the potential for a seventh title, something which fans are becoming increasingly optimistic about. One man who is not allowing himself or his team to take their present situation for granted or to think that far ahead is the Dortmund manager, Jürgen Klopp. In a recent interview with Goal! magazine, when the matter of the Bundesliga title was raised, Klopp was quick to state that “there’s nothing to be said on that subject at the moment”, and that “we’ll need to keep picking up the points for the duration of the entire season if we are to achieve anything solid”. However, if his side continue in their current form, come next May, the Manager may find it slightly harder to ground the Dortmund supporters’ Bundesliga title expectations.

Bayern Munich, by their own high standards, have had a very poor start to the season, but have recently shown signs that their fortunes are turning. With the quality in their squad and the return of the attacking duo of Robben and Ribéry, you would not bet against Bayern retaining their Bundesliga crown. Then, there are other sides which you would expect to be in contention towards the climax of the season, such as VfL Wolfsburg, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Hamburger SV and potentially this season’s surprise package, FSV Mainz 05. Again, expect the league to be highly competitive until its conclusion and if current performances and results are anything to go by, a Champions League spot is certainly achievable for the Dortmund giants. As for their title aspirations, initial signs are promising. For me, Bayern Munich have the more extensive squad, which in time should come good, and remain title favourites. However, only time will tell and ultimately, the time to truly judge BVB’s title credentials will be in May 2011.

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