Last Saturday’s trip to face Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena was always going to be one of Borussia Dortmund’s biggest games of the season, and so it proved. And unfortunately for Die Schwarzgelben, not for the right reasons; for their 4-2 defeat at the hands of Hans-Dieter Flick’s men means that they have serious work to do if they want to qualify for next season’s Champions League, though online tipsters reckon they are still in the running.
Dortmund went into their weekend trip to Munich on the back of four straight wins, and they will have been full of confidence going into the clash with their great rivals. And they got off to a dream start, Erling Braut Håland scoring twice inside the opening ten minutes to put them 2-0 up. But it didn’t last, and Bayern – inspired by Robert Lewandowski who bagged a hat-trick – ran out 4-2 winners. The result was a huge blow for Edin Terzić’s side and their Champions League aspirations.
It has been a disappointing season for Dortmund. Their defeat at the Allianz Arena was their ninth in twenty-four league games, and they sit in sixth place, though they remain just six points from the Champions League places. However, with just ten games left, there needs to be a serious upturn in form if they are to qualify through their Bundesliga finish. Dortmund are still in this season’s competition, though it will be difficult for them to win it given the quality of the teams who are in the mix with them.
Though their next two Bundesliga fixtures – Hertha BSC at home, and a trip to Köln – both look winnable, they have some very difficult looking fixtures left in their run-in, including home games with Frankfurt, RB Leipzig, and Bayer Leverkusen, while they also face a trip to VfB Stuttgart, who won 5-1 at the Westfalenstadion earlier in the season, a result which led to the sacking of Lucien Favre.
It is a tricky time for Dortmund. Although their season has been up and down, they have some very talented players at the club, and the vultures are hovering. Jadon Sancho has long since been linked with a move back to the Premier League with Manchester United touted as a potential destination, while Chelsea are said to be eyeing up Erling Braut Håland. And this is why Champions League qualification is so important to Dortmund: if they want to keep their better players at the club, they need to be playing in Europe’s premiere competition.
The next two months are going to be huge for Borussia Dortmund.