Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dortmund have broken Bayern stranglehold before, why not again?

 by  Peter Fuchs
  Borussia Dortmund may not have been able to provide Jurgen Klopp with the fairytale ending his memorable spell as head coach deserved in 2014/15, but the dawn of a new era at Signal Iduna Park has brought with it an air of excitement regarding the next chapter in the club’s illustrious history.
A seamless passing of the baton from Klopp to Thomas Tuchel has been made, with the new man at the helm having made a dream start to life in a pressurised post.
Succeeding a legend is never easy – as the likes of David Moyes have found out to their cost in the recent past – but Tuchel is now nine games into his tenure and is yet to experience anything other than a winning feeling in competitive competition.
In fact, including pre-season contests, Dortmund have emerged victorious in 15 of their 16 fixtures with fresh faces in the dugout.
Three of those successes have come in the Bundesliga, while early progress has been made in the DFB Pokal and Europa League.
It is their exploits in the German top-flight which will have the locals daring to dream again, with the struggles of last season – as Klopp’s men tripped out of the blocks and stumbled their way towards a seventh-place finish and cup final defeat – now a distant memory.
Maximum points at the first international break, with 11 goals scored and only one conceded, has Dortmund right back on top of things – edging out so far faultless Bayern Munich on goal difference.
As the last side to prevent the all-conquering Bavarians from snatching the domestic title, it could be that history is about to repeat itself in 2015/16 – with Dortmund now the closest challengers to Bayern in Bundesliga betting markets at 9/1 shots.
That is still a big price in what many consider to be a one-horse race, but Die Schwarzgelben know what is required of them.
Back-to-back crowns in 2010/11 and 2011/12 saw them break the Bayern stranglehold, not for the first time, and there is plenty of reason to believe that they are capable of bucking the trend once again this term.

Despite seemingly endless rounds of speculation regarding their top talent over the summer, the likes of key frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and talismanic playmaker Marco Reus remain on their books, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan is starting to look more than his old self after a nightmare run of injuries.
There is also the fact that Bayern’s dominance has started to wane in recent years, with a 25-point gap over the chasing pack in 2012/13 narrowed to just 10 points in 2014/15, while Pep Guardiola’s side have lost more games season-on-season in the last three years and scored fewer goals.
It must also be noted that they have never managed to take the title four years in a row, suggesting that it is about time their current monopoly in that market is broken.

It is still very early in the campaign to be making bold predictions about possible challenges for top honours, but you do get the feeling that if any side is to topple Bayern and possibly send Guardiola scurrying away to pastures new, then it will be a well-oiled machine built by Klopp and restored by Tuchel.