The 50th Bundesliga season kicked off couple of weeks back with defending champions Dortmund hosting Werder Bremen. From a neutralai??i??s point of view, there couldnai??i??t have been a better start to the season as Werder Bremen pushed the German champions to the edge. In a hard fought match a Mario Goetze goal deep into the second half gave Dortmund all 3 points but it was far from a championai??i??s performance. Klopp would have been pleased with the 3 points to start off the campaign with but he would have realized that this wasnai??i??t the same free flowing attack minded football Dortmund had been playing for the last 2 seasons.

Dortmund had the week before lost the German Super Cup to their bitter rivals Bayern Munich 2-1. The Bavarians had dominated the game right from the word go and Dortmund struggled to find their rhythm. The introduction of Goetze and Schieber in the second half helped BVB pull one back but it was evident something wasnai??i??t quite right. That lack of penetration was again seen this weekend against Nuremberg who to their credit played well to hold the champions to a stalemate.

Klopp when he took over in 2010, adopted the now popular 4-2-3-1. As the season wore on, he shifted Kagawa to ai??? the holeai??? behind Barrios and had the two young guns Kuba and Kevin GroAYkreutz flanking them. This system proved very effective and fetched BVB their first title since the late 90ai??i??s. Kagawaai??i??s link-up with Barrios and Lewandowski was crucial and so was his vision to pick out the marauding wingers. The young Mario Goetze shared the play-makerai??i??s role with Kagawa and Dortmund dominated the league twice beating Bayern en route to the Championship.

Borussia Dortmund

This was how Klopp’s side lined up in their first successful season

The dominance continued the following season. The loss of Sahin to Real Madrid and Goetze to injury didnai??i??t seem to affect the Champions. On the contrary it seemed to have kindled a determination to dominate even more. Sven Bender, Kehl and Ai??lkay GA?ndoAYan helped Die Schwarzgelben to forget the loss of Sahin and upfront Lewandowski, Kuba and GroAYkreutz seemed hungrier than ever. But at the heart of it stood Shinji Kagawa. With Goetze out for the season he assumed more responsibility in leading the attack. He notched up 9 assists and scored 13 goals helping BVB clinch their second consecutive title. Kagawa was a threat whenever he touched the ball because he was able to create opportunities via his own shooting prowess or through a deft pass to a team-mate. His clever runs through the middle of the pitch were a constant menace to opposition center backs and his pace was hard to catch up with.

His move to Manchester United in the summer coupled with Barriosai??i??s move to China came as a big blow to the team and the fans. Klopp in turn seemed to have pulled of a coupe when he signed Marco Reus in the summer from Gladbach and added Julian Schieber to his strike force . Reus has been given the central attacking midfield responsibility with Mario Goetze still not fully fit.

But the engine hasnai??i??t been running smoothly. Reus known for his pace and technique hasnai??i??t quite adapted to life playing in the ai???holeai??i??. A prime reason is of course his unfamiliarity in the position. The number 10 position is generally associated with that of a play-maker. The number 10 apart from having an eye for goal, has a key role in bringing others into play and is expected to conjure up something to break stiff resistances. Shinji Kagawa did this brilliantly last season with his sudden bursts of pace or with his astute passes and chips over the opposition defense to create opportunities for others. Marco Reus is more of a winger/striker. His forte is to score goals and get in behind the defense with his clever runs and pace. The play-making role is entirely new to him and it is to be seen if he can live up the expectations.

But it would be unwise to suggest Dortmund donai??i??t have a replacement for the diminutive Japanese. Mario Goetze is widely recognized to be the ai???next big thingai??? possessing the qualities of high speed, excellent technical and dribbling skill, play-making capabilities and creativity. In short the making of a perfect number 10. He was unfortunate to get injured which ruled him out for most of last season. But once heai??i??s back in the starting XI he will be expected to slip into Kagawaai??i??s shoes. It os no doubt a big responsibility and only time will tell if Goetze can live up to his reputation and get BVB back on track.

On the other hand, Klopp can alter his formation to suit his present squad. The 4-2-3-1 demands a team to have a top class playmaker. With a reinforced forward line-up and flying wingers, Klopp can be expected to look at a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-2-2. This way young Goetze is not burdened with the play-making responsibility completely and the team can still retain its free-flowing style.

Borussia Dortmund

Is this the answer to Dortmund’s lack of chances?

Whatever Klopp decides, he can be pleased that the core of the championship winning side is still intact. Lewandowski can still be expected to be flanked by Kuba and GroAYkreutz. In Marco Reus, Klopp has another excellent option upfront. Bender and co have given the middle a sense of stability with an excellent back four shepherded by Matt Hummels.

Nevertheless Klopp will be looking to solve the filling the ai???holeai??? problem as soon as possible. The Bundesliga over the years has turned into a highly competitive and unforgiving league. Small slip-ups can cost a team the title or condemn them to the 2nd division. Apart from their high profile signing of Rues, BVB have had a quite summer. Klopp of course will be hoping that his young midfield brigade of Goetze, Bender, Leitner and GA?ndoAYan can pull the strings and get BVB back in the race. But this could be a case of putting too much faith on young shoulders. With the ai???Group of Deathai??? awaiting them in the Champions League and the struggle for the league title becoming tougher, Dortmund might well pay for their folly of not wanting to recruit a true number 10.

Written by Guest Author Siddharth Mohan

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4 Responses to “Borussia Dortmund’s Post-Kagawa Trauma”

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  1. jude says:

    I could not agree more, I also notice when Kagawa was having an off day or when he’s not around Dortmund struggled.

    But I’m confident Dortmund will do great~

  2. Wendrich says:

    Horrible article tbh. Did not get your facts right. Dortmund struggled with loss of sahin and it took them a while to adapt. It’s only been 2 games way too early to
    say these things. It took Dortmund until late September to adjust to loss of sahin. It’s natural when you lose a star