Borussia Dortmund have done some outstanding business this spring, and the season hasn’t even ended. The signing of your rival’s most important defender and the most in-form defender in the league for a combined fee of €20 million. Insanity. Dortmund’s Achilles’ heel this season has been the inconsistency at the back, but the addition of these two center backs makes them formidable on paper (we shall see about the results on grass).
If Dortmund truly have fixed their defensive problems, could they begin to gain back points they’ve dropped due to a leaky backline? And if they can make those points back, are we looking at the end of Bayern Munich’s reign over Germany? Here’s how I think Dortmund’s team will look like next season and if it truly could compete with the rekordmeister.
Goalkeeper — Gregor Kobel
Nothing to say here. Gregor Kobel was simply fantastic at VfB Stuttgart during the 2020/21 season and continued to be his team’s unsung hero at the Westfalenstadion this season.
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Center Backs — Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels & Nico Schlotterbeck
This will be, in my opinion, the best centre-back trio in the world. Thiago Silva and Andreas Christensen leaving Chelsea certainly cleared the way for it. There is really not much else to say here. I felt putting these three in a back three together would fit perfectly since both Süle and Schlotterbeck are more than comfortable playing as wide centre-backs who push forward, with Hummels being the deepest sat player, almost a sweeper of sorts.
Wing Backs — Marius Wolf & Raphaël Guerreiro
I would say that Wolf presents a weak spot in the starting XI, but I do think that Dortmund won’t be able to spend a lot more money with another not-yet-mentioned deal that has been all but confirmed. Plus, I think Marius Wolf would be excellent in a more advanced role here as a wing back in a back five, since he is more of a wide midfielder rather than a wide back. Same goes for Guerreiro, although I don’t think he needs an upgrade next summer even. He is world class on his day.
Central Midfielders—Emre Can & Jude Bellingham
Bellingham may well stay another year. It seems very likely considering the lack of concrete rumors involving him, and I think Dortmund will be able to convince him to stay at least for this season. Can makes up the more defensive half of the midfield.
Wingers — Donyell Malen & Marco Reus
These roles aren’t ‘wingers’ as such. Similar to the roles Thomas Müller and Leroy Sané occupy at Bayern Munich, Reus and Malen will operate in loose attacking roles that often swap positions with each other and the striker.
Striker — Karim Adeyemi
This deal has been confirmed. Adeyemi is next in line to replace Erling Haaland, there is no doubt about it, and he is perfect for this potential system. Adeyemi has the pace and tactical astuteness to quickly move around and swap positions with Reus and Malen. It is possible Adeyemi would play as a right winger too, with Malen formally taking the position up top. Either way I see this as a very fluid front line, potentially even lining up in a 3-4-1-2 with Reus as a 10 sat behind two mobile strikers, both of whom can drag markers for each other or for a late run from Reus in the middle.
Looking at this lineup and depth from the bench with the likes of Mahmoud Dahoud, Manuel Akanji, Thorgan Hazard, and more, Borussia Dortmund look more and more like legitimate title contenders. For football’s sake, let’s hope Dortmund can get it together and stay consistent to their potential quality. For the sake of Bayern Munich, let’s not hope.
What do you guys think? Is it possible for Dortmund to dethrone Bayern or at least take the title race down to the wire without the need for assistance from upset results? Let us known in the forum below.