Sunday saw bottom club Borussia Dortmund regain their old stride as they defeated previously-unbeaten Borussia MAi??nchengladbach.

For 24 hours, Borussia Dortmund were bottom of the Bundesliga, the famous black and yellow crest anchoring the league table. With just seven points, BVB hadnai??i??t won a league match since mid-September and had suffered successive defeats against the likes of KAi??ln, Hannover 96, and Hamburg. Back-to-back dates with Bayern Munich and Borussia MAi??nchengladbach, who hadnai??i??t lost a single match this season, seemed to come at the worst possible time for JA?rgen Kloppai??i??s men.

If anything, the pair of difficult fixtures against high-quality opposition seems to have galvanized the team. Dortmund produced one of their best first halves in recent memory against Bayern, and were unlucky to lose in the end. But the Bayern game appeared to confirm a leading theory among those attempting to diagnose Dortmund: BVB could do well against teams who attack them, like Bayern and Champions League sides, but cannot break down lower-quality teams that sit deep and wait to hit them on the counter.

Gladbach, then, seemed like the worst possible opponent, a team built around defensive solidity and fast counterattacking football. But Sundayai??i??s game showed that this is simply not true. Dortmund played their game, while Gladbachai??i??defensively solidai??i??were not allowed to play theirs. BVBai??i??s shaky defense, which had conceded 17 goals in 10 matches, stood strong, looking more like the back four of old, while Reus, Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, and Piszczek all had fantastic chances. All in all, Dortmund mustered 22 shots, while Gladbach were consigned to a lone attempt on goal. Weidenfeller, recently recovered from a stomach bug, was virtually untroubled.

While Dortmund are indeed deadly on the counter, those who argue that their stuttering is due to teams sitting deep are suffering from a serious case of short-sightedness. Parking the bus is a tried and true tactic of lower-table teams, not a sudden discovery. Early last season, when Dortmund reigned at the top of the table, FC NA?rnberg managed to get a point against them, 1-1, by doing exactly that. Teams like Hannover and Bremen tried the same, but were less successful. It took patience, and it was frustrating at times, but BVB slowly but surely found their way through obstinate defenses and teams that refuse to come out and play.

It therefore isnai??i??t a matter of tactics, but injuries and Robert Lewandowskiai??i??s departure that have disrupted Dortmundai??i??s flow. But now that the players are back and have had more time to settle in, BVB should be back to their creative best. A side that features such attacking talent as Marco Reus, Shinji Kagawa, Ilkay GA?ndogan, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan cannot fail to break down defenses. With Kagawa and GA?ndogan back in the side, in particular, Dortmund are better able to dictate the tempo of games, to keep the ball and build up pressure rather than play at a single, breakneck speed.

Though Dortmundai??i??s breakthrough came from the unlikeliest of sourcesai??i??poor Christoph Kramer should really be checked again for head trauma following his World Cup final concussionai??i??they fully deserved the win. The only bad news from Sundayai??i??s game was Sokratisai??i?? leg injury that saw him hobble off the pitch in the 84th minute. The international break comes at a fortunate moment, giving both Sokratis and Hummels time to recoverai??i??so long as the other players donai??i??t suffer injuries while away on duty.

Paderborn and Frankfurt are next, and while they will put up a fight, these two fixtures could provide Dortmund the opportunity to build momentum and pick up points to surge up the table. That is, if Kloppai??i??s men can show the same focus against these smaller teams as they did against Bayern and Gladbach. Despite the worst start to the season in their history, BVB are only ten points behind the third-placed Fohlen. The title may be out of their reach, but Champions League footballai??i??and even reclaiming second placeai??i??definitely are not.

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