Borussia Dortmund 2016/17 Season Preview and Squad Details

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Borussia Dortmund 2016/17 Season Preview: Ballspielverein Borussia 09 e.V. Dortmund,or in short BVB,is one of the most admired football institutions,in and out of Germany. That said, it is thereby natural for football fanatics to have an acute interest in what the next season holds in store, for the black and yellow bees. BVB began their 2016/17 season with full hopes and here is a look at their recent past, transfer activities, squad depth and tactical ideas.

Borussia Dortmund 2016/17 Season Preview, Transfer Activities and Squad Details

Borussia Dortmund hail from the city of Dortmund in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. This city is said to be the heart of administrative, commercial and cultural activities of the eastern Ruhr area and holds a population of 500k people.
The biggest professional football club representing this city is BVB themselves. Their closest Bundesliga rivals Schalke 04 come from Gelsenkirchen.

Background and Recent Past

BVB have built a massive reputation for themselves in the past six years, taking the world by storm by pipping the German giants from Munich twice in a row and bagging a Champions league final medal. Since then, it has been more of a roller-coaster ride for Die Schwarzgelben, a product of stall in progress due to various reasons, one of them is the loss of some key players who rode their fortune for three straight years.

Among many other changes, they have also had managerial change. One of the club’s legendary faces in Jürgen Klopp departed after a haphazard season full of injuries. After seven successful years under Jürgen Klopp, Borussia Dortmund entered a brave new world in 2015/16. The club aimed for a new start to a fresh life under newly appointed Thomas Tuchel, a man who has a strong reputation. His work with FSV Mainz 05 got himself the nickname ‘sports scientist’  due to his detailed way of studying footballing tactics.

Last Season in Nutshell

The recently finished 2015/16 season, didn’t have many expectations in store for BVB. All they strived for was to retain their place among the top four of the Bundesliga. And in the long term, restore themselves as the no.1 challengers to FC Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title. However, the start of the Thomas Tuchel era would exceed all expectations.

Tuchel wanted to make Dortmund a genuine challenger in the Bundesliga once more. He managed that in a jaw-dropping style. Dortmund’s renowned high-tempo pressing game was complemented by precise, possession-based positional play football. The measured yet constantly attacking build-up play earned plaudits at home and abroad and restored Dortmund’s status as the number one challengers to FC Bayern München.

Dortmund played so well on an overall last season so much so that they became the best ever second placed team in Bundesliga history. Their goal and points tally belonged to the elite class among that of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. At one point of the season, they had reached 100 season goals faster than any other team in Europe.

The first half of last season was more of an all-out attacking style employed by the German mastermind Thomas Tuchel. The defence was continually stumbling and Tuchel had noticed this. He bravely benched an ultra-attacking fullback Ginter for the recovered Lukasz Pisczcek in the second half of the season. The results were improving as a consequence of his decisions which targeted an improved defence. Even it meant lesser goal productivity than in the first half of the season, Dortmund had conceded lesser goals than Bayern Munich for the second half and also remained unbeaten at home all season.

Borussia Dortmund 2016/17 – Transfer Activities

Borussia Dortmund had quite a busy transfer window. The departures of Ilkay Gundogan to Manchester City, former captain Mats Hummels to Bayern Munich and Henrik Mkhitaryan to Manchester United hinted that a major revamp is to take place. The BVB fans and admirers alike were sincerely worried about the loss of the three stars in just one transfer window.

But while BVB have given up these three key players, they have used the same money they squeezed out of these transfers in building a new team for the next season. The most important thing that they have accomplished so far in the transfer window is, THE THING BVB lacked for quite a while all these years- SQUAD DEPTH. The team’s bench strength and options for the starting lineup have been bolstered up a lot by the shrewd and clever signings.

  • Andre Schurrle from VFL Wolfsburg
  • Mario Götze from Bayern Munich FC
  • Sebastian Rode from Bayern Munich FC
  • Raphaël Guerreiro from Lorient FC
  • Ousmane Dembele from Rennes FC
  • Marc Bartra from Barcelona FC
  • Emre Mor from Nordsjaelland
  • Mikel Merino from Osasuna CA

Borussia Dortmund 2016/17 – What the New Signings got for BVB ?

Marc Bartra was brought in to fill the void left by Mats Hummels. Tuchel probably preferred a player accustomed to his positional play tactics for that very purpose. He also found Marc Bartra’s ball playing abilities, pretty useful for the team, at least from how he has played in the friendlies.

Guerreiro is a young and strong option at the left fullback spot. Guerreiro is set to replace Marcel Schmelzer or at the least give him a tight competition. The 21-year-old was outstanding during the Euro 2016 campaign for Portugal and looks likely to be BVB’s future in the left back spot. He is equally capable of assisting in attacks up front and tracking back to support the defence. Added to this, his free-kick taking ability making him a vital set-piece threat.

Borussia Dortmund 2016/17 – New Signings

The departure of right winger Jakub Blaszczykowski to VFL Wolfsburg was well taken care of by the purchase of Andre Schurrle, Emre Mor and Ousmane Dembele. While Schurrle is not quite in the shape he was, he is good enough to back up the right wing spot. He can also provide the factor of experience and advice, being a big name.

Emre Mor did take Denmark by storm with his dribbling abilities. His Euro 2016 performances with Turkey(1 goal and 1 assist in 3 games played) received plaudits from various football pundits. He could provide a necessary  backup for the moment.

Dembele, having impressed a lot of clubs in his time with Rennes FC could provide a lethal threat up front. Schurrle has worked under Tuchel with FSV Mainz 05 and his career might be revived by the same man who played a vital part in his development. In any case, Tuchel has a plan for Schurrle. Ousmane and Emre on the other hand, are still young and could learn a lot from the experienced players. If they sharpen themselves to become  better players and they will be the sparkling future of BVB.

Borussia Dortmund 2016/17 – Squad Details

While we are yet to see how Gundogan is to be replaced by Tuchel, the pre-season friendlies gave us an idea. What Sebastian Rode can provide for Borussia Dortmund? Perhaps the double pivot with Castro or Weigl in midfield might work out in BVB’s favour. All in all, he is a BVB fan who can give his heart and soul on the pitch. A player who is bold and clear about what he does with the ball. Most importantly, his signing was a measure to ease the burden of the Gundogan loss and provide squad depth.

Another such signing to ease the loss of Ilkay is the purchase of Mikel Merino. A relatively unheard name, compared to rest of the purchased players in the list. BVB have had a knack for finding hidden potential in unknown youngsters and ironically, Ilkay himself is a good example of that. Merino has an Ilkay factor in his game-play and could play a number six or eight depending on coach’s demands.

Last but not the least, the Henrik Mkhitaryan replacement ! Once touted ‘German Messi’, Mario Götze !! A signing that had happened after months of debate and confusion. It is very ironic that Gotze is now returning to replace the player purchased by BVB to replace him. While one cannot call it a perfect replacement, there is hope on Mario’s side to get his career revived. However, doubts remain on whether Henrik’s loss can be neutralised by Gotze in the present scenario.

Borussia Dortmund 2016/17 – Prediction

Now, coming to the final part, how is BVB’s season going to be? After a busy transfer window, the deciding factor lies in how Tuchel utilises the new set of players. It might be different from the way BVB played last season if the abilities of some new players don’t match with the ones who have parted ways with the club. If the newbies are in perfect sync then Tuchel might continue to employ same tactics.

At the same time, Tuchel will be looking to improve on where he had left off last season. This improvement could be achieved by using the new set of players in a different way for the same tactic or perfecting tactics employed to get better results.

Either way, I personally feel that BVB might well give a tougher fight than last time for the Bundesliga title. They might most possibly end up as Bayern’s runner-ups once again, but it’s going to be much tighter. Time will tell how the Black and Yellows will make use of their opportunity to better themselves !! 🙂 🙂

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