Dortmund’s attacking options reflect their title ambitions
One of the multiple talking points regarding Borussia Dortmund during the close season was whether they would be able to cope with the loss of Mario Goetze. Losing Goetze to another European giant was an inevitable scenario, but seeing one of the Bundesliga’s brightest talents move to Dortmund’s bitter rivals added insult to injury. Many fans, Dortmund or not quickly speculated as to where Dortmund would stand come the new season, and many thought the Black and Yellows would surrender another Bundesliga title to the European champions.
So far Dortmund’s 2013-14 campaign has been an eventful one, both positive and negative. Whilst Jurgen Klopp has made a few key additions to the squad during the close season, the majority of Dortmund’s summer activity was eclipsed by one player in particular; Robert Lewandowski.
A player who has proven himself crucial to Dortmund’s rise across Europe in recent seasons, the Polish international also proved to be troublesome from May 2013 onwards. Trying to force a transfer to Bayern Munich, Lewandowski could only sit back and watch as Dortmund continued to block any such movements. Even with Lewandowski criticising the Dortmund backroom staff, the club have managed to obtain his services for at least one more season, through the matter of a small pay rise to £3.5million for the season. Nevertheless keeping the 24-year old on board is a coup for Klopp.
And in the case of Mario Goetze’s departure, Klopp has seen fit to change his side’s skin and their attacking style, rather than look for a direct fill in and/or Goetze’s potential successor.
Pierre Emrick-Aubameyang arrived from Saint-Etienne whilst Henrik Mkhitaryan was aqquired from under the noses of Liverpool from Ukrainian champions, Shakhtar Donetsk.
Mkhitaryan has become on the most talented, and yet more unpredictable No.10’s in world football, and whilst his Dortmund career has gotten off to a mixed start, this could probably be blamed on his recent injuries picked up over the pre-season.
He is the type of player who has to be sharp and fit in order to play well, and we are a good few weeks away from seeing the Armenian at his best. Nevertheless Klopp is confident that Mkhitaryan can live up to reputation that earned him multiple plaudits whilst he played in the Ukraine. Yet should Mkhitaryan reach his peak form he could well provide the needed attacking football Dortmund craves in Goetze’s absence.
Aubameyang offers something completely different again, and being used on the right-hand side of a 4-2-3-1 formation unlocks his ridiculous acceleration and top-end speed.
While Robert Lewandowski leads the line and occupies the centre-back’s attention,Aubameyang can drop off into space, receive the ball and sprint forward. Defensive lines, on the turn, hate nothing more, and when the Gabon international finds a slither of composure, he’s going to be a lethal weapon in Klopp’s system.
Opposite to Aubumeyang is Marco Reus, a player who the Gabon international will look to form a solid partnership with. Reus is a player who, like Aubumeyang, possesses speed on the wing, and his close control and quick-decision making skills are leaps and bounds ahead of Aubumeyang.
With the addition of Ilkay Gundogan’s playmaking ability, as well as Jakub Blaszczykowski and Kevin Grosskreutz ensures that Dortmund will have the required depth across the forward line for the coming season.
Goetze may have left, but Klopp has bought so cleverly that it’s arguable the club is now better off.
The truth is, Borussia Dortmund are now an irresistible, varied and overwhelming attacking force, and it’s looking incredibly likely they can take Bayern all the way, both domestically and in Europe.
They’ve started the season with nine points from nine, but it’s clear the new players are still adapting—the overwhelming statistic drawn from their 1-0 win over Werder Bremen last week was that 32 shots were taken on goal, yet only one found the back of the net.