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Until November, Dortmund had a chance to win the Bundesliga title. But having lost four and won just one of their final six games to end the first round, all hopes of providing any competition for Bayern Munich are gone. The 2013 Champions League finalists enter the winter break somewhat of a mess, but they can take solace in knowing that the worst is over.
In the second half of the season, BVB will have to take care to edge Gladbach, Wolfsburg, Hertha and Schalke in the Bundesliga, all of which are manageable tasks. They will have to bring their A-game in the Champions League and DFB-Pokal, but Klopp has built his team for one-offs, not longevity.
Mats Hummels, Lukasz Piszczek and Ilkay Gundogan will enter the second half of the season fresh and match-ready; the latter two will be like new signings. Erik Durm and Marian Sarr will have had some extra time with Klopp to learn, grow and adapt to playing at a high level.
Critically, the now weary Marco Reus and Nuri Sahin will have had time to rest, to regenerate and ready themselves for the second round. If they are used carefully as part of a rotation, there is reason to believe they will be more reliable and capable of maintaining their form for the entire spring campaign.
It's been a calamitous month-and-a-half for Dortmund, but the worst is over. Although utterly defeated in the Bundesliga, they are alive and well in two competitions and can expect to have a deeper, fresher and more mature team when their campaign resumes in January.
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