Last season Borussia Dortmund were injury stricken, resulting in a virtuously disappointing campaign. They were second best yet again and found themselves stretched due to the lack of fit players. Piszczek, Hummels, Subotic, Schmelzer, Bender, Gundogan, Kehl and Mkhitaryan making up the most of the absentees writes Ben Taylor.
This season Dortmund were set up beautifully, fresh faces and a welcome break put them in a healthy position to mount a siege on the League title. But following last week’s news of Nuri Sahin, who will undergo knee surgery that could keep him sidelined for two months, Dortmund are starting to show signs of yet another manifestation of the injury bug. The influential Turkish midfielder will join up with Gundogan (back), Schmelzer (groin) and Blaszczykowski (knee) in the injury room. This isn’t a disaster for Klopp as the squad do have more depth than ever but the loss of yet another player will dampen Dortmund.
This raises the question; will Borussia Dortmund fall to the same fate and be haunted by injuries yet again? With the depth of this year the answer is a firm no, and time will be a testament to that. The introduction of Ginter, Ji, Ramos, Immobile and the prodigal son Kagawa are all perfectly viable options to start and haul the team to where they belong. Moreover Klopp has not yet fielded his usual 4-2-3-1 this season, partly to accompany for the loss of Robert Lewandowski and partly to accommodate the new attacking options Borussia Dortmund possess. Meaning Klopp can continue to be tactically flexible to suit the options at hand. However more and more pressure will fall on the likes of Jojic, Kirch and veteran Kehl as the club adapt once again to playing without another one of their central midfielders.
Last year when Dortmund were missing several key players the one thing it didn’t majorly affect was the results. Klopp’s motivating skills are second to none and the team still managed to finish 7 points clear of Schalke 04. The team also beat Real Madrid 2-0 with a weakened squad. The only back to back slip up was towards the start of the season when Dortmund lost to Wolfsburg and then at home to Bayern Munich. So if Dortmund were to find themselves in such circumstances then the managerial prowess of Klopp would be enough to keep Dortmund bobbing. In the meantime, Kehl, Kirch, Durm and Jojic can all enjoy regular playing time for Borussia Dortmund.
Click on Ben’s name above to follow him on Twitter.