3 Targets for Borussia Dortmund to Hit in 2016

Lars PollmannFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2016

Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel, center,  celebrates after the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04 in Dortmund, Germany, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015. Dortmund defeated Schalke with 3-2. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

At the outset of the 2015/16 season, Borussia Dortmund showed modesty when deciding on their targets for the campaign.

Speaking at his introductory press conference in June, new head coach Thomas Tuchel formulated the targets (via ESPN FC's Stephan Uersfeld):

I had the wish to coach a top Bundesliga club, one with tradition, a real challenger. And BVB are a huge challenger in all competitions. Especially domestically. But the peak of German football has become broader. It's not only Munich, but also Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, and VfL Wolfsburg. We are the challengers for this quartet, but have a leeway because of the new coach.

At the halfway point of the season, that mission seems already accomplished in the Bundesliga.

Having beaten all three of Monchengladbach, Leverkusen and Wolfsburg with a combined scoreline of 10-1, Dortmund are comfortably second in the league, eight points behind runaway leaders Bayern but six ahead of surprise team Hertha BSC in third place and nine ahead of Gladbach.

With that in mind, the Black and Yellows might well use the current winter break to formulate new goals for the rest of the season. Below, we present three possible targets BVB could have in mind for 2016.


Help Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Become the Bundesliga's Top Goalscorer

It might seem odd to list an individual accomplishment on this list, but with little else to play for in the Bundesliga unless they collapse early in the second half of the season, Dortmund would do well to keep star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in top form.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is on track to win his first goalscoring title.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is on track to win his first goalscoring title.Martin Meissner/Associated Press

As Fox Soccer's Ross Dunbar noted: "Gerd Muller's 40 goals in a season record is the one they all want." It's unlikely Aubameyang will even come close to that, despite his 18 goals in the first half of the season seeing him ahead of the pace Germany's greatest goalscorer of all time set in his record-setting 1971/72 campaign.

Still, Aubameyang looks certain to break the magical barrier of 30 goals, which no one has accomplished since 1976/77 when Cologne's Dieter Muller scored 34.

To ensure the Gabon international wins the award, Tuchel should let him take all spot-kicks in the Ruckrunde—despite his failing to even hit the target with his last try against Eintracht Frankfurt in December.


Reach the DFB-Pokal Final

Our second target is fairly self-explanatory and by no means an entirely new one but still one that Dortmund should work hard for: Go as far in the DFB-Pokal as possible.

It will be four years since BVB hoisted the DFB-Pokal when the 2016 final is played on May 21.
It will be four years since BVB hoisted the DFB-Pokal when the 2016 final is played on May 21.ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

The Black and Yellows have become specialists in the cuphaving reached the final three times since 2011. The last time Dortmund fell to a team other than Bayern before the Berlin final came in October 2010.

BVB will face VfB Stuttgart away from home in the quarter-finals in early February and should be heavy favourites to dispatch the Swabians.

The luck of the draw will then be very important: Considering their great form in Tuchel's first months in charge, getting knocked out by anyone other than Bayern would have to be seen as a massive disappointment.


Win the UEFA Europa League

In formulating a new year's resolution for Tuchel, we urged him to focus on the UEFA Europa League in 2016that competition could end up the easiest to win this season, as it's the only one where they can't face Bayern.

BVB are widely tipped to win the UEFA Europa League this season.
BVB are widely tipped to win the UEFA Europa League this season.FABRICE COFFRINI/Getty Images

There are, of course, some very strong sides standing in Dortmund's way, with Napoli, Tottenham, Liverpool and Sevilla looking the most dangerous of the bunch. 

BVB will have to be on their toes to even make it to the next stage of the Europa League after drawing FC Porto for the round of 32, but all things considered, the Black and Yellows have to feel good about their chances in Europe in 2016.

They are still the odds-on favourites to win the competition, per Oddschecker.com, and they could have the advantage of not having to play for much of anything in their league, something the other big teams in all likelihood won't be able to say for themselves.


Lars Pollmann is a featured columnist writing on Borussia Dortmund. He also writes for Yellowwallpod.com. You can follow him on Twitter.