Borussia Dortmund have been on quite a whirlwind trip this season on three fronts, and there could still be plenty more ups and downs to come between now and May.
Dortmund have struggled this season in comparison to last campaign, despite some shrewd buying giving them the likes of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. While all stand-out players for Schalke, Shakhtar Donetsk and Saint-Etienne respectively, playing for the Champions League runner-ups is a different proposition, especially when Mkhitaryan was bought to replace Mario Gotze, who was sold to Bayern Munich in the summer of 2013.
It has to be noted though that Dortmund have found this season difficult due to a number of reasons, but of course the excuses can only last so long. The main one that has been used this year is the fact the side have sustained injuries to literally the whole team at one point or another. Mats Hummels, Lukasz Piszczek, Neven Subotic and Jakub Blaszczykowski were four of the key players injured early on, whereas other important stars have since been ruled out. Meanwhile Robert Lewandowski has since confirmed for Bayern Munich and the team has had to rely on youth considerably this season, even going as far as signing Manuel Friedich in order to support the depleted defence.
While they have managed a good season all things considered, it's not the same compared to last year. While they won the German Super Cup at the start of the season and have managed to get to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, in comparison to last season's league stats they have collected fewer points than last term domestically.
Other stats have to of course come into the equation, but plenty of things have conspired to ensure that Dortmund have struggled. They potentially face going into third if Schalke can overtake them, and if that happens it truly would signal the end of their run at the top of European football.
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