Can Borussia Dortmund End Bayern Munich’s Dominance in Germany?

 

Borussia Dortmund have entered this season in great form under new manager Lucien Favre and are unbeaten in all competitions.

They have been playing great, entertaining football so far. After a summer overhaul, Favre has stabilised the defence, added steel to the midfield, and brought in great talent for the forward line.
Niko Kovac’s Bayern Munich have been poor this season, winning 4 games, drawing one and losing two. They currently lie 6th in the table behind Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Borussia Monchengladbach, Werder Bremen and Hertha Berlin.
Moments of sloppy defending has spread uncertainty throughout the squad, their well-known fast build up play hasn’t been as effective this season and there is a lack of chance creation.
The few chances that are being created haven’t been put away. They have certainly not been at their best this season, so is there a possibility they will slip up? Can Dortmund end their superiority in German football by stealing their crown?

2018/19 Record: So Far (BVB)

The Black & Yellows are the only unbeaten outfit in the Bundesliga this season and spearhead the Bundesliga rankings by a three-point margin. They have racked up 17 points in 7 matches, (W5, D2).
Dortmund look a dangerous prospect in the final third this season and have amassed 23 goals in only 7 matches so far this season.
They’ve scored four or more goals on four occasions and have averaged 3.2 goals per match.
One concern, BVB have conceded eight goals this season and five of those goals have been leaked in the previous two fixtures.

  Influential Players

Paco Alcacer: Borussia Dortmund's New Talisman

After great summer of transfer business, Borussia Dortmund’s new and existing players have stepped up to the plate to ensure a solid start to the season.
Marco Reus, when fit, is arguably one of the best players in Europe, nevermind the Bundesliga and is showing that so far this season with 5 goals and 3 assists.
His role in the Borussia Dortmund team has changed from a winger into a playmaker/central attacking midfielder. Marco has adapted to that role from the get-go, with his many goals and assists.
Youngster Jadon Sancho has played a key part in Dortmund’s superb start, being the top assister in the Bundesliga with 6 assists. Sancho recently signed a contract with die Borussen until 2022 which is great news for the club and the fans. Dortmund have a great reputation of producing great youth players, Jadon Sancho and fellow youngster Jacob Bruun Larsen have been playing plenty of first team football which is great to see as they are certainly first team material.
Newly recruited striker Paco Alcacer has made an instantaneous impact at the Signal Iduna Park by scoring seven goals in the Bundesliga. More astoundingly, Alcacer has averaged a goal every 14 minutes in the Bundesliga so far this season and has buried the ghost of his underwhelming spell at FC Barcelona.
Dortmund signed Alcacer on a one year loan deal from the Catalonian club with the option to buy him at the end of the 2018/19 season. He’s following in the footsteps of many other distinguished strikers to play at Borussia Dortmund, which makes it critical that they sign him on a permanent deal at the end of the season.

Tactics

Lucien Favre favours a defensive style of play. While defending, Dortmund occupy a 4-1-4-1 formation. Axel Witsel acts as the defending midfielder, guarding the defence. Dortmund’s defensive structure is brilliant and well organised. When the opposition is attacking, Witsel presses aggressively to protect the centre of the defensive block. Defensive duo Abdou Diallo and Manuel Akanji are determined to get the ball and protect their goal. Defensively, Borussia Dortmund are a really tough team to break down and the opposing team could face real problems trying to infiltrate the Dortmund defence. This is why they have conceding very few goals this season.
When Dortmund have possession of the ball, they pass their way around. They are more keen the retain possession than under previous managers Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp. Instead of a quick transition into the attacking phase, Dortmund instead rotate the ball from one side to the other. In transition, the midfield trio of Thomas Delaney, Axel Witsel and Mahmoud Dahoud stay goal side of the opposition midfield. This provides strength in terms of capability to pass the ball as well as a solid positional approach to the attack.
When Dortmund have the ball in their opposition half, their front three normally consists of Marco Reus, Jadon Sancho and Paco Alcacer. Marco Reus takes up space towards the left, or centrally. Sancho takes position down the right wing while Alcacer is up top. From there, Dortmund work their way into the box with fast build up play which cut teams open. They are one of the most rapid teams going forward in the Bundesliga, causing many problems for the opposing sides defence.

Bayern Munich’s Previous Dominance

Bayern Munich have been Bundesliga champions for a record breaking 6 years in a row, often by a large points margin.
Bayern’s great financial backing and relentless winning mentality make them the impregnable force at the top of German football.
They are undoubtably one of the best clubs in Europe when they are on top form. They have played some of the best football in the world over the past few years under managers such as Pep Guardiola, Jupp Heynckes and Carlo Ancelotti.

 New Coach, New Problems?

Last year Bayern hauled Jupp Heynckes out of retirement for one season due to a terrible start. It wasn’t until the last few months of the 2017-18 season, Bayern hired former Eintracht Frankfurt manager and Croatian Niko Kovac.
The inexperienced Kovac led Frankfurt to triumph in the DFB Pokal Cup last year, as well as an eight place finish. There is no plan B this time round if things go wrong for Kovac, and it looks like the start of a mini-crisis with the Bavarians.
Bayern are now without a win in 4 games in all competitions, their last result a 3-0 hammering by Borussia Monchengladbach. They have looked shaky in defence and terrible up front, taking  few chances that come their way.
It appears top striker Robert Lewandowski seems to be unsettled at the club. In my opinion, Kovac is not the right fit for Bayern. No disrespect to Kovac himself, he has achieved some great things with Frankfurt, but I don’t think it was the right choice from Bayern to hire him.

Verdict

Around this time last year, Bayern had been experiencing an uncertain start to the 2017/18 Bundesliga season. Carlo Ancelotti had suffered a demoralizing defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League and Bayern had concerns that their dominance in Germany may draw to a conclusion.
Borussia Dortmund had stormed to the summit of the Bundesliga after a fantastic start under former Ajax manager Peter Bosz and had gone five matches without conceding a goal.
However, the tide quickly changed – Bayern Munich went onto win the Bundesliga title by 21 points and Borussia Dortmund slumped into fourth place.
Lucien Favre and his new-look Borussia Dortmund outfit can definitely break Bayern’s reign in Germany. If they maintain their high standard of performance and stick to his philosophy, Borussia Dortmund may be able to end six years of heartache and enjoy another triumphant chapter.

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