It wasn’t too long ago when we saw Borussia Dortmund hit top form, winning two consecutive league titles and a DFB Pokal over Bayern Munich.
But with that came the re-establishment of Bayern’s dominance in German football. Since Dortmund’s title winning seasons in 2011 and 2012, Bayern have captured the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal twice along with a Champions League title. This caused the pendulum to switch back to Bavaria, leaving players like Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski with no other option, except to join Dortmund’s fierce rivals.
Normally, Bayern’s picking of emerging players from others would cause a team to fall apart rather than become stronger, but that's not the case at Dortmund.
When Gotze cowardly left to join Bayern, Klopp replaced him with the Armenian playmaker from Shakhtar Donetsk, Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Although he wasn’t considered a direct replacement, the extreme situation of one of the best prospects in the world leaving unexpectedly caused him to become one.
And, as if Dortmund couldn’t have taken a bigger blow, Robert Lewandowski, who is known as one of the best strikers in Europe, decided to follow Gotze and join Bayern. At this point, it seemed that Dortmund’s magical run was over.
But once again, Klopp and his scouts somehow found a way to re-tool in a way like no other. With the likes of Adrian Ramos, who scored 16 goals for Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga this campaign, and Ciro Immobile, who led the goal scoring charts in Serie A this year for Torino with 22 goals, Klopp has found ideal replacements and even added depth with Ji Dong-Won from Augsburg.
General squad strengthening
With the scoring department sealed up, Dortmund seems to have covered up their main hole in the transfer window. They also have strengthened the rest of the squad in multiple ways.
Jakub Blaszczykowski and Neven Subtonic have recovered from their injuries which brings back two immense players to the squad. Ilkay Gundogan seems very close to a comeback which left him out the entire last year.
The emergence of Erik Durm and Milos Jojic from last season offer great depth off the bench, and maybe even adds competition to the starting XI. Mathias Ginter completed his move from Freiburg and now offers Dortmund the luxury of one of the best German prospects to come off the bench.
Meanwhile Nuri Sahin returns as he completed his permanent move from Real Madrid following a great, yet low key season on loan at Dortmund. Throw in Mats Hummels’ outstanding World Cup, following an immense season which now pencils him as one of the best center backs in the world, and you have a squad.
With the talent in Dortmund’s hands on the field, and one of the best managers in the world, anything below a Bundesliga title will be a disappointment. Look for Dortmund to have another strong season in the Champions League also, as they look to recapture the glory of 1997.
It is only preseason, Dortmund have looked very sharp, winning six of their seven friendlies with a total score of 28 to six, as well as one draw. Expect the usual crazed Dortmund fans to keep up the good work ahead of a wild season.