Borussia Dortmund: Are they genuine challengers to Bayern?

Borussia Dortmund couldn't be doing much worse than last season but still have work to do if they hope to catch Bayern Munich

8:30am on Friday 20th November 2020
Stefan Bienkowski

Having finished last season 13 points behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and knocked out of the DFB Pokal and Champions League at the last 16 stage, it’s safe to say that this season was always going to be one that Borussia Dortmund would strive to do much better in.

And while we’re only seven games into the new Bundesliga season, Lucien Favre’s side have shown enough of themselves over 12 games in all competitions to allow us to start gauging whether BVB have managed to find a way to get closer to their goals this time around.

Borussia Dortmund: The season so far

In the opening exchanges of the new season, Dortmund have shown a new-found resilience for winning big games, whilst also stumbling in the kind of lesser ties that caused them so much anguish last season.

A 3-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach in the opening weekend of the Bundesliga can be put alongside a 3-0 win against Schalke, a 2-0 victory over St Petersburg in the Champions League and two hard-fought clashes with Bayern Munich which required winning goals from the German champions in the last 10 minutes of each game.

Indeed, Favre’s side are scoring more and conceding few goals per game than they did last season and are averaging more points per Bundesliga clash too. So, for the most part, Dortmund have certainly improved somewhat.

Dortmund summer moves in

InFromReported fee
Emre CanJuventus£23m
Jude BellinghamBirmingham£21m
Thomas MeunierPSGFree transfer
ReinerReal MadridLoan

Dortmund summer moves out

OutToReported fee
Omer ToprakWerder Bremen£3.6m
Mario GotzePSVFree transfer

Yet alongside those improvements are a few uncomfortable reminders of last season’s hiccups, which cost the club so dearly. While Dortmund fans may not have enjoyed both defeats to Bayern this season, the unexpected 2-0 loss to Augsburg would have stung far more and the 3-1 thumping off Lazio in the Champions League may suggest they’re still not ready to go toe-to-toe with the best Europe has to offer either.

However, some consolation for the Bundesliga side may come from the fact that among their many star players only Erling Haaland can really lay claim to being in fantastic form. And while that may not be the most glowing report on Favre’s job as head coach of the side, it does also suggest that there is still much more to come from Dortmund’s vast and exciting array of attacking players.

Dortmund: Grade B-

It remains to be seen whether Dortmund can match their one-off sparring contests with Bayern with the consistency and stamina needed to keep up with the Bavarian giants over the course of an entire league campaign and hope to take advantage if or when Hansi Flick’s side stumble.

Yet for now the season is still young and a lot of football remains to be played. Dortmund look like they’ve improved on last season’s abysmal showing but they still have plenty of convincing to do before Bayern need to start worrying about handing over silverware in May.

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