The former German champions have had a horrid time of it in the Bundesliga so far this season, yet following a lengthy winter break, one would presume Klopp’s kids could get back to square one and turn their form around.
But what exactly can we count on from Dortmund between now and May?
The biggest concern for the Black and Yellows is scoring goals. The defence may be shaky, but by regular Bundesliga standards it’s just about holding out. What’s costing Klopp points and ultimately spots in the league table is his team’s inability to score goals.
Fortunately, the problem isn’t critical and it should sort itself out before too long. Although the German coach has been stubborn in his tactics to accommodate the injuries of his more creative players—opting instead to bring in central midfielders such as Sebastian Kehl and Kevin Grosskreutz, who tend to slow play down—the likes of Nuri Sahin and Ilkay Gundogan should be back to their full fitness before long.
What this will entail is a return to some genuine build-up play from the heart of Dortmund’s own half, rather than the current ploy of lumping the ball up the park from one defender to the next. With Gundogan and Sahin back, the likes of Ciro Immobile, Marco Reus and new boy Kevin Kampl will be able to get the ball down, play some proper football and ultimately start scoring.
When we consider Dortmund’s situation at the bottom of the Bundesliga table, a healthy dose of perspective is most certainly needed. Despite results going against them this weekend, Klopp’s team are still only 14 points away from a potential Champions League spot and some much-needed salvation for a horrendous start to the season.
In the realm of the Bundesliga—where anyone can beat anyone on their day—this means Dortmund could genuinely find themselves flying up the league table with three or four wins in a row.
Fortunately for the Westfalenstadion faithful, that’s more than doable when we take a glimpse at who Dortmund have coming up over the next month. Klopp’s side face Augsburg on Wednesday, then travel to Freiburg next Saturday. Add to that a home tie against Mainz and a trip to Stuttgart before their Champions League first leg-clash with Juventus and you have four possible wins and a complete turn in fortune within a month.
In fact, if you take the European clashes out of Dortmund’s schedule, they only have Schalke to worry about between now and April 4, when they welcome Bayern Munich to the Westfalenstadion. For what is either the second- or third-best roster of players in the league, that’s a huge opportunity to rack up some important points in the Bundesliga table.
Assuming Dortmund lose to Schalke and Bayern, they could still feasibly pick up 23 points from a possible 29 in the next few months.
A run like that could quite easily bring them back up in the league and toward the Champions League spots they should still realistically be aiming for come May.