Are Borussia Dortmund Europe’s Most Entertaining Team?
Posted on 16th November 2015
It is testament to how good a season Borussia Dortmund are having that they sit just five points behind Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga table, despite the Bavarians having won 11 of their opening 12 matches.
Bayern have been devastatingly brilliant so far, but there is a strong argument to be made that it is Dortmund who are currently Europe’s most entertaining team.
Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Schalke in the Revierderby took their top-flight goal haul for the campaign to 35, with a further 27 netted in eight Europa League encounters and nine in two DFB-Pokal clashes. They have scored in every single game they have played this term, with an average of 2.92 strikes per game in the Bundesliga and 3.23 in all competitions.
Clean sheets have been hard to come by of late – Dortmund have recorded just one shut-out since the 3-0 triumph over Bayer Leverkusen in mid-September – but that simply adds to the sense of fun. BVB’s intention is to outscore opponents, with defending a secondary concern.
Thomas Tuchel, hired as Jurgen Klopp’s replacement in the summer, has had a terrific start to his tenure at Signal Iduna Park. The objective before the season got under way was simply to return the club to the Champions League, something that Dortmund look well on course to do.
The victory over rivals Schalke at the weekend showcased exactly what the Black and Yellows are about.
Dortmund were excellent and really should have won by a greater margin, with Schalke’s two goals – both converted by Klaas Jan-Huntelaar on the counter-attack after mistakes from Mats Hummels and Sokratis Papastathopoulos – coming in isolation from the general pattern of the game.
Although Tuchel’s charges were forced to hang on for the final 10 minutes, they dominated for the vast majority of the match. Hummels, Papastathopoulos and midfielder Julian Weigl, who dropped in between the two centre-halves to help start attacks, were frequently the only outfielders kept back by Dortmund; full-backs Matthias Ginter and Marcel Schmelzer took up high and wide positions, allowing Shinji Kagawa and Gonzalo Castro to drift infield and combine with Ilkay Gundogan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and lone striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has found the back of the net a rather remarkable 22 times in 20 outings.
Schalke just could not live with the sheer numbers BVB committed to their forays forward. There was good variation to the home side’s play, too: Dortmund switched between long spells of possession and short, sharp bursts forward throughout the 90 minutes.
Victory in the Revierderby is always worth more than just three points to fans of both clubs, but Tuchel will simply be happy that his team picked up their ninth league win of the season. Were Pep Guardiola’s Bayern not so exceptional, Dortmund would probably be top of the Bundesliga, while there is plenty of credence to the contention that they would be leading the way in most other European major division.
Bayern remain overwhelming favourites to secure another Bundesliga crown this year, but Dortmund’s start will give them hope that they can challenge once again.
For now, though, such talk can wait: after an excellent first three months that have seen BVB play some of the most entertaining football on the continent, fans of the Black and Yellows are simply enjoying the ride.
About the Author – Greg Lea
Freelance football writer. Work published by FourFourTwo, The Guardian, World Soccer, Goal, The National, Squawka, Eurosport, The Blizzard + others.