Borussia Dortmund have; by most accounts, enjoyed a prosperous 2015/16 season, reaching a domestic cup final, making the quarter-finals of a European competition, and finishing second in the Bundesliga, behind only the giants of Bayern Munich.
However, for a team that just three years ago had just played in the Champions League final and in the two seasons before that had won the Bundesliga title, Dortmund are struggling to attain their prior heights, with rivals Bayern Munich once again dominating German football.
Over the years, Dortmund have becoming something of a selling club, not being able to boast the finances of major European clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich.
The Bavarians have been a particular thorn in Dortmund’s side, having poached several of their star players over the years. This has seen BVB slide behind their red and blue rivals, after shedding stars such as Mario Götze, Robert Lewandowski and most recently Mats Hummels.
Intriguingly though, Thomas Tuchel’s side have returned the favour and have brought Bayern Munich’s Sebastien Rode to the Westfalonstadion, most likely as a replacement for Ilkay Gundogan who left for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
And after long-term centre-back Mats Hummels left the club, Dortmund have responded and bought a highly-rated centre-half from Barcelona in Marc Bartra, giving the Yellow Wall some new names to sing about.
So, what does the future now hold for this great club, and can they once again topple Bayern Munich off their perch?
In terms of their squad, what Tuchel really needs to do is not let any more of his important and most valuable players leave the club.
Marco Reus has stayed when many of his former attacking team mates have left for the Allianz, while Henrick Mkhitaryan has enjoyed a brilliant couple of campaigns in Dortmund, attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal, but as yet, has resisted the temptation to move on.
Then of course, there is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was a revelation in front of goal last season, scoring a lethal 54 goals throughout the campaign. Stretching defences with his ballistic pace and becoming increasingly reliable in front of goal, Aubameyang is key to Dortmund’s future if they are to return to the top of German football.
Despite this, of the three attacking stars currently plying their trade in a Dortmund shirt, he is going to be the hardest to keep a hold of, as he is simply the most valuable. The Gabon international has already attracted interest from Real Madrid and now Manchester City this summer, meaning Dortmund may have to accept losing another top player.
Should he leave however, Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette and Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain could prove more than worthy replacements, although the asking price for Higuain may well be out of Dortmund’s reach.
The rest of the team looks fairly well set up, with Bartra and Rode likely to both slide smoothly into Tuchel’s starting XI. Dortmund fans must be hoping that Rode and Julian Weigl can form the same formidable partnership the promising young German starlet did with Ilkay Gundogan last season.
Dortmund have never lacked passion, fight and a good team spirit, but Thomas Tuchel will be looking to Leicester City as to how to keep a team believing and will look to further install that quality in among his group of players.
The major problem for Dortmund is even if they do manage to improve, Bayern Munich seem to be able to continue to go from strength to strength after already conducting great transfer business of their own. Already; despite the window not officially being open, they have acquired exciting Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches and Mats Hummels, the latter of which will form an intimidating back-line with compatriot Jerome Boateng.
However, next term could be Borussia Dortmund’s best chance to upset the Bavarian giants.
Tuchel has now been at the club a full season, meaning he knows his players well and they are fully aware of how he wants them to play. Bayern Munich will have a new manager for the first time in three seasons in Italian Carlo Ancelotti, and it may take him time to bed in.
Dortmund are capable of winning the league, particularly if they manage to beat the odds and retain Aubameyang on their books. However, whether they do or not may just depend on the form of Bayern Munich. Unfortunately for BVB fans, if Munich play to their best, they are very unlikely to be beaten in the next few seasons with the incredible squad they have.
Nevertheless, it is clear that after bringing in two eighteen-year-olds in Ousmane Dembele and Emre Mor, Dortmund are thinking of the future as well as just the present.
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