It was a mixed bag for Borussia Dortmund last season as they finished third in the Bundesliga behind eventual champions Bayern Munich and new boys RB Leipzig.
2016/17 Season Recap
The season featured multiple successes with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang winning the Torjägerkanone with 31 league goals, the most ever by a non-German, whilst the club secured the DFB Pokal with a 2-1 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt.
In the Champions League, Dortmund cruised through the group stage before dismantling Benfica in the Round of 16. However, their run ended after a horrendous incident in which der BVB were targeted in an unwarranted attack on their team bus, injuring Marc Bartra in the process. The club played their quarter-final legs against Monaco, but their minds were clearly elsewhere.
The season ended with Thomas Tuchel ousted as Borussia Dortmund boss after only two seasons, replaced by former Ajax manager Peter Bosz.
Maximilian Philipp from Freiburg: €20 million
Mahmoud Dahoud from Borussia Mönchengladbach: €12 million
Ömer Toprak from Bayer Leverkusen: €12 million
Dan-Axel Zagadou from Paris Saint-Germain B: Free
Matthias Ginter to Borussia Mönchengladbach: €17 million
Sven Bender to Bayer Leverkusen: €12.5 million
Mikel Merino to Newcastle United: Loan (€3 million fee)
Dzenis Burnic to Stuttgart: Loan
Most important player: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
The Gabonese striker was unbelievable last season as his goals made a significant difference for Borussia Dortmund. 40 goals in 45 appearances in all competitions is an incredible return for any forward and Aubameyang proved why he is a desired asset throughout the transfer window.
It’s fair to say Aubameyang cuts a charismatic figure and with rumours of the Gabonese international trying to force a move away from the Signal Iduna Park, manager Peter Bosz will have his hands full keeping Aubameyang’s eyes on the prize until January at least.
The 28-year old is Dortmund’s most important player for his goal-scoring exploits, it’s difficult to replace 40 goals in a single season.
One to watch: Felix Passlack
Dortmund have produced many gems from their youth academy and Felix Passlack is no exception.
The 19-year-old right back has been a part of the Dortmund set-up since 2012 after joining from Rot-Weiß Oberhausen Jugend and has risen up through the ranks before signing a professional contract in January of 2016.
That season Passlack made his Bundesliga debut in a 2-0 away win over Darmstadt and since then has made a further 12 appearances in the league playing in a variety of positions.
With the injury to Raphaël Guerreiro and Marcel Schmelzer at left back, we could see Passlack thrown into the limelight at the commencement of the season.
Biggest weakness: Defensive stability
With a generally solid defensive core, it may seem unusual to see Borussia Dortmund suffer from such a weakness. But it was a considerable issue they faced throughout last season, in which they conceded 40 goals.
Goalkeeper Roman Bürki was under siege regularly, forced into making 59 saves across the campaign. This can be attributed to Tuchel constantly forced into making defensive adjustments due to injury or suspensions, as well as his side’s incompetence in possession, gifting the opposition chances on goal.
Dortmund have shipped off Matthias Ginter for Ömer Toprak in the hope that the defensive end of the pitch will be more of a brick wall rather than a water leak.
It will be a change of system for Borussia Dortmund this season under Peter Bosz as the Ruhr Valley club prepares for the up-coming campaign. As has been a customary trend with Bosz’s sides in the past, a 4-3-3 will be implemented and this is how the team will look like with all players being available.
It’s a relatively unchanged outfit with new signing Mahmoud Dahoud the only change to last year’s regulars, whilst Raphaël Guerreiro will eventually overtake Marcel Schmelzer as the first choice at left back.
American starlet Christian Pulisic, and new comers Maximilian Philipp and Ömer Toprak will all likely find their place on the Dortmund bench.
First five games
An interesting start to their Bundesliga season and they’ll be looking to get off to a positive start this term. BVB open the season away at Wolfsburg, who look to have their first full season under Andries Jonker as they hope to avoid a repeat of last season. Dortmund have had a good run against Wolfsburg of late, winning four of their last five contests.
Hertha Berlin (H)
Then comes a tricky run of three games against Europa League sides with Dortmund’s home-opener against Hertha Berlin. The Capital Club have made solid acquisitions over the summer and could provide an uncomfortable night at the Signal Iduna Park.
Dortmund will then travel to Freiburg. The Black Forest club have fallen victim to Dortmund on plenty of occasions and Bosz will be hoping the winning trend continues. BVB haven’t lost to Freiburg home or away in the league since May of 2010.
Their week four clash with Köln will provide the toughest test of the lot. Köln have frustrated Dortmund since regaining promotion in the 2014/15 season. Under Peter Stöger, Köln are unbeaten in their last six matches against Borussia Dortmund.
Next comes an away trip to Hamburg who, like Wolfsburg, will partake in their first full season under coach Markus Gisdol. In the past, Hamburg have been a tough customer for Dortmund to handle, but BVB fans should be looking for goals galore. In their last three contests, Dortmund have scored 11 times against Hamburg.
Although this is Peter Bosz’s first rodeo in the Bundesliga as manager of Borussia Dortmund, expectations from the board and the fans will be to challenge Bayern Munich for the title. A minimum of a top four finish will be demanded, and a failure to achieve that may see Bosz’s head roll.
In the Champions League, the expectations are for BVB to at least qualify from the group stage to the last 16. Defending the DFB Pokal will be of importance too, but it won’t be a top priority as the club’s ambitions will certainly outweigh the knockout tournament.
RealSport prediction: 2nd
With the quality that Borussia Dortmund boast, it’s hard to think the club will struggle in any way, shape or form. The dismissal of Thomas Tuchel is still a difficult one to fathom, but Bosz has earned his chance in the hot seat at Dortmund.
I can see Dortmund challenging Bayern Munich for the title, but it will depend on what happens with Aubameyang and whether he commits to the club or eventually forces his way out, whether BVB can pip Bayern to 1st place.
Dortmund’s final position in the standings could be lower if Aubameyang departs, as they simply don’t have another striker who can replace his goal scoring output.
Where do you think Borussia Dortmund will finish? Let us know in the comments section below.
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