Currently sitting in fourth spot and with just three defeats all season in the Bundesliga, at first glance, one would be forgiven for believing that BvB’s domestic campaign is far from over.
However, in reality, a total of seven draws on top of this have left the Black and Yellow’s 15 points behind Bayer Leverkusen, who occupy pole position.
It is a far cry from where the club were last year: fighting for the Meisterschale on the final day of the season at home to Mainz.
While they may have fallen short at the final hurdle then, this season, it appears they even forgot to enter the race entirely.
Boring, lacklustre, and unengaging are three perfect terms when beginning to describe the performances displayed by Edin Terzić’s side on a weekly basis this campaign, and there is no sign of improvement any time soon.
But how has this happened?
Last season, while they may have come close to lifting silverware, BvB were still far from convincing, but with Julian Brandt, Jude Bellingham, and Raphaël Guerreiro, they had three players who were often on hand to create a moment of magic.
All three players, as per FBref, ranked inside the top ten in the Bundesliga for shot-creating actions.
This subsequently allowed Donyell Malen to flourish towards the end of the campaign, as he began to look like one of the most lethal forwards in Europe, while Youssoufa Moukoko displayed moments of brilliance during his fleeting cameos from the bench.
Nevertheless, in the summer, Bellingham departed for Real Madrid, and Guerreiro signed for Bayern Munich.
The far more reserved Ramy Bensebaini was courted from Borussia Mönchengladbach to replace the Portuguese international, while Felix Nmecha was lured in from Wolfsburg for a hefty fee to fill the sizeable shows left by the Englishman.
It is fair to say that, unsurprisingly, neither signing has worked, and while Nmecha is young and undoubtedly has potential, Bellingham was and is in a world of his own.
The impact left by the current Real Madrid star will never truly be replaced, but the issue remains for Dortmund: Brandt is now the only creative spark in the side.
What are the numbers?
This season, Brandt has been able to retain a spot inside the top ten players in the Bundesliga, sitting in seventh place having created 81 shot-creating actions.
However, a rather large scroll down reveals Donyell Malen in 27th spot, the only other BvB player inside the top 50 with a total of 53 SCA.
When compared to those around them in the table, Bayern have six players inside the top 25, Leverkusen have four, RB Leipzig have three, and Stuttgart have two.
Having failed to add creativity in the summer window to supply the attacking line, Malen has been unable to find the same form that saw him linked with a number of Europe’s elite less than six months ago.
Instead, he has had to take on a duty that he is certainly not as comfortable with, ultimately preventing him from being the player to finish off chances inside the box, as Karim Adeyemi and Giovanni Reyna have failed to improve under the guidance of Terzić.
Where do Dortmund go from here?
The winter arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Ian Maatsen look to have certainly helped Terzić’s side, but it is far too little, too late.
As well as this, they are two players that are on loan until the end of the season, and with ludicrous price tags, Dortmund are already ruled out when it comes to potentially signing them at the end of the campaign.
Therefore, their issues will return and they will have to be addressed once again, and with Champions League qualification hanging in the balance this season, another poor transfer window could see BvB fighting for a top-six spot this time next year.
GGFN | Will Shopland