Get German Football News analyses Borussia Dortmund’s three newest signings, and a look ahead to how those changes may affect their chances of reclaiming the Meisterschale in the 2019/20 season.
Bayern Munich achieved an astonishing seventh Bundesliga title in succession in the 2018/19 season. Although, for the first time in eight years, Borussia Dortmund were in prime contention to win the Bundesliga and they took it all the way to the final matchday. It does appear that Dortmund are closer to achieving Bundesliga success than they have been for a long time. With that in mind, Get German Football News looks back at Dortmund’s successes and shortcomings last season, the business they have conducted ahead of next season, and what we could see from the Black and Yellows next season.
Borussia Dortmund began planning for next season back in January with the sale of Christian Pulisic to Chelsea for a fee of around €64 million. The 20-year-old has been a key player for Dortmund in recent seasons. However, with Chelsea paying a hefty fee, BVB have been able to reinvest those funds into three key signings to date: Nico Schulz (Hoffenheim, €25.5 million), Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen, €25 million), and Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Mönchengladbach, €25.5 million). Arguably, all three of these signings would be contenders for the Bundesliga Team of the Season.
Last season, Borussia Dortmund conceded 15 more goals than RB Leipzig and 12 more than their rivals from the south Bayern Munich. It was no secret that Dortmund had personnel issues in defensive areas. The likes of Abdou Diallo, Achraf Hakimi and Julian Weigl were all forced to play in positions they are not akin to throughout the duration of the season. The left-back role in particular was a problematic area for Dortmund. Diallo, Hakimi and Raphaël Guerreiro all doing the rounds, but neither of them being able to tie down the role more permanently.
However, with the signature of Schulz, Dortmund have a solid natural full-back with an immense ability to move forward at speed and cover well at the back. The former Hertha BSC and Borussia Mönchengladbach man had found a new lease of life under Julian Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim and was consistently good last season. Form he will no doubt be keen to take to Westphalia. With the addition of Schulz, Hakimi will probably return to the right flank and run riot, as he so often did last season. The Moroccan youngster enjoyed fantastic form in the early stages of the season, picking up Bundesliga Rookie of the Month in November, before his season ended abruptly in March, fracturing his metatarsal.
In midfield, Julian Brandt has long been recognised as a versatile midfielder with lots of talent and a bright future ahead of him. He will most likely be a permanent fixture for Dortmund next season while his duties will probably switch between the wing and central attacking-midfield.
The same will go for his new Belgian teammate, Thorgan Hazard, who switched between the left and right wing frequently during his time at Borussia Mönchengladbach. The Belgium international will no doubt give Lucien Favre a lot of choice in attacking areas the pitch. The duo linking up for the first time since Favre’s departure from ‘Gladbach back in 2015.
Dortmund’s defensive midfield is perhaps their strongest area, the duo of Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney is perceived as being one of the best in the league. This partnership will likely remain the same moving into next season. In attack BVB still have a lot of quality, especially with the likes of the Spaniard Paco Alcácer and German football icon Marco Reus, second and third top goalscorers in the Bundesliga last season respectively. Despite still falling behind Bayern in goals scored, they still had no real issues with finding the back of the net. It would, therefore, be very surprising if Dortmund invested heavily in the striker position in the summer transfer window.
Die Schwarz-Gelben have wasted no time in signing players for the future. The immediate effect should be an alleviation of squad depth issues, especially in the Champions League, and in the latter stages of the domestic season. All three of Dortmund’s new signings have experience in European football, which can only be a positive for Favre.
It is very hard to see anyone putting an end to Bayern Munich’s dynasty, however, Dortmund have taken positive steps to at least keeping pressure on the Bavarians. Niko Kovac had some shaky spells last season at Munich, with many spectators doubting his reign would last the full season. Even with a Pokal Cup and Bundesliga trophy to his name at the end of the season he has still come under fire from some of Bayern’s harshest critics. They will argue that Dortmund were a little too close for comfort. The instability of Bayern Munich last season combined with the well-known expectations from their board could play into Dortmund’s favour, who, should view next season as an opportunity to achieve domestic success again. Of course, Dortmund’s pending success may still hinge on the additions that Bayern Munich make.
By Cameron O’Mara.