Borussia Dortmund is currently ten points behind league leaders Bayern Munich. There are three main problems at Signal Iduna Park: managerial change, inconsistent play and a significant injury to striker Erling Haaland.
Borussia Dortmund Facing Problems
Erling Haaland Injury Causes Dortmund Attacking Problems
Haaland was out of the entire month of December due to a hamstring tear. He made his return in the new year against Wolfsburg on January 3th in a 2-0 win. Without the Norweigan striker, Dortmund struggled significantly in the Bundesliga only winning twice in five games (two losses and one draw). Their only wins came against sides in the lower half of the table in Werder Bremen and Hertha Berlin. The standout loss was a 5-1 loss to VfB Stuttgart which led to the sacking of Lucien Farve. They struggled to score goals without him and looked lost offensively. There was no emotion on the pitch without him. Erling Haaland’s impact since joining showed through his emotions and willing for the team to win. The 20-year old is an ardent striker who is a great asset for Dortmund.
The German club is in a state of dysfunction. Haaland’s buyout clause is due to activate next summer and with his prolific form in front of goal, the demand for the striker is not going to stop. What will the club do if he ends up joining Real Madrid or Manchester City?
The club lost Christian Pulisic to Chelsea and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal. Both players were remarkable in transforming this German side but have not been adequately replaced. Both Pulisic and Aubameyang averaged more goals per season at Dortmund than their respective English clubs. At some point, someone else needs to step up whether it be a young player such as Jadon Sancho or Giovanni Reyna or even the veteran Marco Reus.
The Problem of Sacking Lucas Favre Midseason
The Swiss manager was sacked immediately after the devastating 5-1 home loss to Stuttgart, with Edin Terzic installed as interim manager. It was a shady move by Dortmund to move on from him without their best player. How can he be judged without his best player?
Anytime a team’s best player is out for a significant period the team will regress. Dortmund is considered contenders to Bayern Munich but Hans-Dieter Flick’s side has dominated the rivalry.
Dortmund was competing well in the UEFA Champions League but with the rotation in between was unachievable under Favre. Managerial changes are easy to make and are the matter of business but at what point do the players stand up and take their rightful responsibility for this demise.
Understandably December was a tough month for the club with games coming thick and fast before the winter break. That’s when Dortmund started to slide. After beating a strong RB Leipzig side 3-1; it was the return of Haaland that stole the show as he put on a world-class display. Following that big win and attempts to kick on, they drew against Mainz.
What made it worse was it was during a time when Bayern Munich lost back to back games to Borussia Monchengladbach. However, Dortmund could not take advantage of Bayern dropping points. On the contrary, Dortmund could not recover from the draw with Mainz and then went on to lose 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen.
Borussia Dortmund is at a crucial crossroad in the season and their next game against Monchengladbach could be vital if they are to aim towards Europe. Earlier in the season, they did comfortable beat Marco Rose’s side but on the current form; the odds are stacked against Edin Terzic’s side.
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