Battling Borussia Dortmund determined to continue revived run
Borussia Dortmund finished second to Bayern Munich in last season’s Bundesliga campaign and were toppled by their German rivals in the 2013 Champions League final, but this term they have endured an almighty fall from grace.
The Black and Yellows, 28/1 with Coral to win Europe’s elite club competition this year, have faltered throughout the season, sinking into the relegation places after a series of disastrous defeats and underwhelming performances, before recently making a crucial revival.
Jurgen Klopp’s Bundesliga battlers secured an important 3-2 victory over fellow fallen giants Stuttgart in their last league outing, securing three consecutive triumphs for the first time this season to move further away from danger.
Dortmund are now occupying 12th position in the table, following a hat-trick of rejuvenated results, climbing three points clear of the relegation zone, having spent time at rock-bottom during the prolonged winter break.
As well as their recent resurgence in form, a new long-term deal for star man Marco Reus has been an incredible boost to Klopp’s side, with midfield maestro Ilkay Gundogan also set to commit his immediate future to dynamic Dortmund.
To turn form and fortunes around at such a late stage of the campaign could be seen as another success for German manager Klopp, as he currently takes charge of the Westfalenstadion outfit for a seventh consecutive season.
In recent campaigns, Dortmund have devastated top sides with their courageous counter-attacking abilities, helping them to clinch back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.
However, a fatal switch in tactics could have been a key to their previous dramatic downfall, with Dortmund’s possession statistics significantly higher this season than in any of their last four league campaigns, when they finished in second place each time.
Their previous struggle possibly shows that a swapping of a preferred high-energy approach for possession-based gameplay ultimately effected Dortmund early in the campaign, with Klopp claiming he eventually had time to work on their style during the winter period.
“We’ve now been able to work on so many things that we had no time to go over even once in the summer,” said Klopp. “We weren’t able to work tactically one single time because the lads first had to get into decent shape.”
After recovering from their domestic dip, optimism is now very high at the club, with a European place for next season still within their grasp, and Champions League success possible this term.
Klopp’s gallant side face dominant Serie A leaders Juventus in the round of 16, with Dortmund hoping to transfer their domestic revival on to the European stage.
Despite their poor run of form before the winter break, the Black and Yellows impressively finish top of Group D with just a single defeat, while netting 14 times.
Meetings with the Old Lady have been rare, but the last proved to be memorable for the German outfit, having claimed a 3-1 Champions League final victory over their Italian opponents in 1997.
Given that this season’s showcase event is being held in Munich, Klopp’s revived team will be even more motivated ahead of their latest clash.
Dortmund will hope to call upon past successes as a good omen, as well as their league resurgence, to clinch further European glory, and are even-money to qualify for the quarter-finals this year.