Is Dortmund’s title charge over after losing to Bayern Munich? To look at the league table, the question may appear to jump the gun. Dortmund did lose 3-2 to their main title rivals amid much controversy, according to ESPN, yet the club is only four points adrift of Bayern. As well as playing the same number of matches, there is a total of 20 left to play to decide the fate of the league crown.
However, Bayern is in imperious form, and history is also in the club’s favor since the team has finished above second place by 13 points in the last two seasons. Can history repeat itself, or will Dortmund push the champions all the way?
For the club, going out of the Champions League isn’t what was expected or what was required of the side. The competition is the Holy Grail of European soccer, so to finish third is disappointing, to say the least. It’s worse knowing that Bayern has won five out of five and qualified at a canter.
What it does mean is that Dortmund can channel the squad’s resources towards the Bundesliga trophy. After losing Jadon Sancho to Manchester United and not fully replacing the England star, it’s not as if the side is stronger than last season. The MansionBet blog highlights how little confidence bookmakers have in BVB by quoting the respective odds, with Dortmund the clear second favorites.
Still, despite the rankings, Bayern will have a massive fixture pile-up to contend with the deeper the club goes into the Champions League. That’s without cup runs, too. Dortmund, on the other hand, can rest players when it suits them to give its boys the edge in big six-pointers, namely the return fixture at the Allianz Arena in April 2022.
Regardless of how fresh the players are when they contest the crunch games, it won’t matter too much if the defense continues to concede goals. So far this season, the club has let in 22 goals in the league alone, the joint-worst record among the top eight teams. 11 of them came in Dortmund’s first five matches.
So far, moments of quality have been enough to get them out of trouble, such as Marco Reus' late winner at home to Stuttgart that’s detailed in this France24 article. However, even the likes of Erling Haaland won’t be able to come to the rescue every time, making it essential for Marco Rose’s men to steady the ship. Dortmund’s style is highly entertaining, but it isn’t conducive to winning trophies, not when Bayern is just as potent and a lot stingier in defense.
Unfortunately, individual errors and low concentration levels have been endemic to the way Dortmund play for a couple of seasons. They were the reason the club finished third behind RB Leipzig in 2020/21. On that evidence, it appears Rose and his players will have their work cut out for them going into the Christmas break.
With so many games to go, we can’t write off Borussia Dortmund. But the loss to Bayern has made life tougher than it needs to be, especially since the defense is dodgy. If the coaches can eliminate the mistakes and the club can use its downtime effectively, Dortmund’s odds may improve.