Ever since they won the Bundesliga title in 2011, there has been little question of the quality within Dortmund's starting lineup. However, their ability to cope with injuries and suspensions has consistently been called into question; beyond the first XI, there has not been very much in terms of quality footballers.
In 2013, BVB have taken steps in the transfer market to improve their depth.
Nuri Sahin was brought back to the Signal Iduna Park on a long-term loan; he is perfect cover for Ilkay Gundogan. Later, BVB confirmed the acquisition of Sokratis to add cover as both a centre-back and a right-back. And although Mario Goetze was sold to Bayern, BVB added two high-quality attacking players in the form of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
And yet, despite now having their deepest team in recent memory Dortmund have been found short of staff. Three days after a demoralizing loss to Napoli in the Champions League, Juergen Klopp fielded a starting lineup against Nuernberg that was Pep Guardiola-esque in terms of its use of players out of their natural positions.
Erik Durm, formerly a Mainz striker who has since been converted into a defender a la Kevin Grosskreutz, started at right-back in the first outing for BVB that lasted more than 12 minutes. On the topic of Grosskreutz, the natural winger and converted full-back started in defensive midfield alongside Sven Bender and Jakub Blaszczykowski in a 4-3-3 formation.
Marvin Ducksch, whose previous Bundesliga experience amounted to an injury-time cameo against Braunschweig, led the forward line for BVB in Nuernberg.
It is undeniable that Dortmund have more quality in depth this season than in the last few years; they are just unfortunate to be missing injured stars in the form of Lukasz Piszczek, Mats Hummels, Nuri Sahin, Ilkay Gundogan and Sebastian Kehl. And after playing 45 minutes in midweek with only 10 men, many others were in need of a rest.
Still, there is some cause for concern in Dortmund.
The use of Sven Bender against Napoli was evidence that Klopp does not believe he has a worthy fourth option in central defense, and his reserve full-backs are natural attacking players. The trainer needs to either make signings in midseason or hope that BVB's youngsters mature enough to be useful role players in the coming weeks.