The interesting thing about the five losses Borussia Dortmund have picked up so far this season? All of them have come against the rest of the top 6 – Bayern Munich, Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, Wolfsubrg and now Hertha Berlin.
Dortmund were the hottest team in Europe until October arrived. The injuries on defense started piling up, and also once again their lack of finishing in certain matches or Jurgen Klopp struggling to cope without sufficient depth when compared to Bayern Munich started taking its toll. Last season it cost Dortmund any chance of being close to a historically good Bayern Munich, but there was enough left to make it all the way to the Champions League final.
This season? They did make it out first from their group, but no one seems to be really confident Dortmund have enough to turn things around in the Bundesliga or be considered good enough for an impressive run in the Champions League once again.
They have won only one match over the last six and have only four points out of the last 24 possible. They are already 12 points behind Bayern Munich (who have played one match less than Dortmund because of their Club World Cup involvement) and might fall to fourth by the end of the weekend, as Gladbach still have a match to play.
The loss to Hertha Berlin was a perfect example of Dortmund in recent matches – plenty of chances created early on, even scoring the opening goal. However, their defense right now (Durm, Papastathopoulos, Sarr, Grosskruetz) is compiled of one player who is actually a winger and three other players who have no business starting for the team.
Klopp doesn’t make too many tactical mistakes, but he has to play against his own beliefs and style if he wants to help out his back four, left too exposed time after time as Marco Reus and the rest attack constantly without thinking about how much space they’re leaving behind, not having someone as good as Bender or Gundogan to cover for them.
When does this end? When players start coming back. The question is – will it be too late for Dortmund by then to catch up with Bayern Munich so they can at least make an attempt to look like they’re trying to challenge for the title? The winter break comes at a perfect time for them.