Borussia Dortmund are traditionally expected to be the main title challengers to Bayern Munich, but this season they have fallen really short of expectations. There are still three months to go in this campaign, and this article examines what Borussia Dortmund have to play for across all competitions.
Even though they currently lie in 3rd place, Der BVB have been disappointing in their Bundesliga campaign, with Bayern Munich clinching the title seemingly a forgone conclusion.
Points dropped in games against Darmstadt, FC Cologne, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Ingolstadt has extended the gap between them and league leaders to 13 points.
The best the German giants can realistically hope for is a 2nd placed finish, and even that is a tall order, considering the gap between them and 2nd-placed RB Leipzig is 8 points.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been a shining light for Dortmund in their relatively dim season. The Gabon international is the joint top scorer in the league with 19 goals, and he will be hoping to secure the German top scorer award at the end of the season.
The DFB Pokal represents Dortmund’s best chance of success this season. They are currently in the Quarter-Finals where they are expected to navigate their tie with Sportfreunde Lotte quite easily. They should be favourites to compete in the final if they do not draw Bayern Munich in the semi-final.
BVB’s odds of success in this competition will be significantly improved if Bayern Munich were to exit the race before the final. Should the Munich team, however, manage to make it to the final, Dortmund will still fancy their chances, as Bayern Munich have been playing below their optimal capability this season.
UEFA Champions League
Dortmund go into the second leg of their Round of 16 tie knowing they need to turn around a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.
The failure to score a goal in the first leg might present a stumbling block, but they can take solace in the fact that Benfica are notoriously average away from home, winning only 4 of their last 20 away games in the Champions League.
BVB can also draw confidence from their first leg performance, where they were the better side over 90 minutes. They should have won the game, but lacklustre finishing from their forwards, especially the usually reliable Aubameyang, saw them succumb to a slender defeat.
Should Dortmund progress from this round, they will remain one of the dark horses to advance to the finals of this season’s competition.
PSG, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid are almost sure to make the last 8 of the contest, and Dortmund are more than capable of beating any of the above three.
Asking Dortmund to go all the way this season might be a bit of a stretch, but with the right amount of luck, especially with the draws, they might go as far as the semi-finals this term.