Jude Bellingham is eyeing success with a new-look Borussia Dortmund team in 2022/23. - © Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty
Jude Bellingham is eyeing success with a new-look Borussia Dortmund team in 2022/23. - © Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty
bundesliga

5 reasons Borussia Dortmund can win the 2022/23 Bundesliga title

whatsappmailcopy-link

It has been 10 years since Borussia Dortmund last won the Bundesliga title, a fact that clearly rankles at the club. With that in mind, a clean slate going into the 2022/23 season could be just what they need to wrestle the Meisterschale from Bayern Munich.

bundesliga.com outlines five reasons why BVB could be champions in the new campaign…

1) Starting afresh with Terzic

After finishing as runners-up to Bayern at the end of last season, Dortmund parted company with Marco Rose as head coach and replaced him with Edin Terzic, who previously held the role in a caretaker capacity in the second half of the 2020/21 campaign.

“Edin knows our club, our environment, the majority of the first team and is also aware of the areas we want to work on in order to play successful football for our fans,” sporting director Sebastian Kehl said of the appointment. “The 2022/23 season is a new beginning in sporting terms.”

That includes the departures of a number of first-team regulars including Erling Haaland, Axel Witsel, Roman Bürki, Marwin Hitz, Dan-Axel Zagadou, among others, while previous sporting director Michael Zorc has retired.

All of which opens the door up to fresh ideas and opportunities, which Terzic is eager to exploit. “Many people know by now just how important BVB is in my life,” the 39-year-old said. “We’ll work every day to be successful with the team and the club.”

If Terzic’s first stint at the helm is anything to go by, that appears highly likely. The tactician is a skilled communicator and was praised by a number of players for his man-management. In all, Dortmund won 20 of their 32 competitive games under his guidance (a highly respectable 62.5 percent win ratio) – including the DFB Cup final - drawing four and losing eight.

As if that were not enough, Terzic also requested that Peter Herrmann be appointed as his assistant. While perhaps not a household name to the wider public, in football circles he is regarded as one of the best in the business. The 70-year-old recently helped Schalke regain promotion to the Bundesliga, and was also Jupp Heynckes’ right-hand man when Bayern won the treble in 2013.

Edin Terzic led Dortmund to DFB Cup glory in 2021. - Martin Rose/Getty Images

2) New-look attack

The departure of Haaland to Manchester City is obviously a big blow, but given the Norwegian’s lengthy absences with injury last term, the team adapted and learned how to play without him. They won six and drew one of the 10 league games he missed.

The arrival of Germany international Karim Adeyemi was the first help on the way to filling the void. The pacy 20-year-old has already proven his worth at Red Bull Salzburg by getting 18 goals and seven assists in 30 appearances last season.

Germany head coach Hansi Flick has hailed the attacker’s “ice-cold ability in front of goal,” while Kehl highlighted that his “incredible pace and finishing ability will help our attacking play”.

Later in the summer Dortmund also recruited Sebastien Haller, who is closer to a like-for-like replacement for Haaland.

The 28-year-old former Eintracht Frankfurt forward returns to Germany at the at the peak of his powers following a hugely successful 18-month spell with Ajax. Haller got 47 goals in 66 matches for the Dutch champions, helping himself to 11 of that total in last season's UEFA Champions League.

Two players already on the books are also set to feature more prominently. USA international Gio Reyna was tormented by a series of injuries in 2021/22, making just 10 league appearances. Only five of those were starts, and in two of those he was substituted off before half-time due to injury.

The 19-year-old glides through defences, has outstanding dribbling ability and is even better at playing the killer pass. After a summer break to recover, strengthen and regain fitness, Reyna will be like a new player for Terzic.

The same goes for English teenager Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, who made his Bundesliga debut on Matchday 30 and went on to show his undeniable attacking gifts, even starting for the first time on Matchday 32.

A livewire winger unafraid to take on players twice his age, Bynoe-Gittens is set to be given plenty more first-team opportunities this term. And if there are any doubts about the impact a 17-year-old can have, look no further than the likes of Mario Götze, Christian Pulisic and Jadon Sancho over the years at Signal Iduna Park.

Watch: Jamie Bynoe-Gittens: "Crazy to be a part of this team"

3) New-look defence

Arminia Bielefeld were relegated as the Bundesliga’s second-bottom club last season after conceding 53 goals. Dortmund let in 52. Only six other teams shipped more.

Clearly, then, issues in the backline needed to be addressed – and they were. With traditional German efficiency and planning, Dortmund snapped up centre-back pairing Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck from Bayern and Freiburg respectively.

Both already senior Germany internationals, it is hard to see teams getting through on goal with such regularity this season, especially as Mats Hummels and Manuel Akanji are the two high-profile players they will be competing with for a starting berth.

“Niklas Süle possesses a lot of experience, composure in his build-up play and the necessary physicality to take the next step with us from this summer onwards,” said departing sporting director Michael Zorc when the transfer was announced in February. Already a five-time Bundesliga winner and still just 26, Süle also brings plenty of know-how to the table when it comes to picking up silverware.

Watch: The best of Niklas Süle

While Schlotterbeck may still be lacking in that department, he “chose BVB in order to further his development as a footballer,” according to Zorc’s successor, Kehl. One of the breakout stars of 2021/22, if Schlotterbeck develops much further he will soon be among the world’s elite centre-backs.

The 22-year-old won 394 duels and 128 aerial battles last season, putting him in the top six league-wide in both categories. He also completed over 84 percent of his passes – not safe sideways ones, but often long, probing balls forward into the attackers. Furthermore, the four goals and one assist he chipped in with are highly respectable for a defender.

If that’s the centre of defence sorted, and with Raphael Guerreiro the undisputed first-choice left-back, the right-back position could also be given a boost this season with Mateu Morey expected to return.

The Spaniard suffered a serious knee injury in early 2021 and after more than a year in rehabilitation and recovery on the sidelines, returned to first-team training in May.

Watch: Nico Schlotterbeck - rising star

4) Enviable midfield

Adeyemi, Süle and Schlotterbeck may have grabbed the headlines with their transfers this summer, but another major signing has flown more under the radar that could end up being their most important one: Salih Özcan.

BVB have long played free-flowing, attractive football, seemingly scoring goals at will. But there has been a suspicion that they have a soft underbelly in the big games, lacking the grit to go with their undoubted flair. Seven consecutive Klassiker defeats to Bayern in the league tells its own story in that regard.

The arrival of Özcan from Cologne is aimed squarely at remedying that. The 24-year-old may not appear at the top of any statistical charts, but he is the kind of player loved by teammates and coaches - and hated by the opposition. A midfield terrier, Özcan patrols the pitch waiting for his spidey sense to tingle so he can snuff out danger.

“I’m more of a fighter, who sometimes goes where it hurts,” he told BVB’s in-house media channels with a smile after his transfer was announced – perhaps unsurprisingly for a player who comes from a family of wrestlers. “That’s what characterises me – that I sometimes hurt the opposition and show them where the limits are.”

Kehl sees the newcomer’s role similarly: “Salih was one of the rising stars of this last Bundesliga season and made a key contribution to Cologne’s successful season in central defensive midfield. He’s a player who is incredibly strong in the tackle and the air. He’s someone who is prepared to do the dirty work and is uncompromising in his bid to help his team succeed. His mentality and physicality, coupled with his intelligence, will do our team good."

The prospect of him lining up alongside Jude Bellingham in central midfield is an exciting one for Dortmund. Bellingham, after all, is regarded as the team’s next superstar.

The England international hit three goals and eight assists last term, as well as finishing the campaign in the top three league-wide for duels won (433), sprints (922) and intensive runs (2633); in the top 14 for overall distance covered (208.8 miles / 336.1 km); and top 30 for pass completion (85.9 percent).

From front to back then, Dortmund appear incredibly well stocked for the new season, and that is even before taking our last point into account…

5) The Yellow Wall

Mythical, magical, mystical: however you choose to describe it, playing in front of Dortmund’s 25,000 capacity, packed-out, standing-only south terrace is something the club’s players all live for.

Goosebumps are guaranteed when the roar hits at kick-off, and even more so when goals are scored. You’ve no doubt heard of fans being a team’s 12th man, and in Dortmund’s case it is undoubtedly true.

Prior to the pandemic, BVB had the best home record in the league in 2018/19, winning 44 points out of a possible 51 at Signal Iduna Park. Once restrictions took effect and games were played behind closed doors in subsequent campaigns, however, Dortmund’s home results also took a hit.

Watch: A closer look at the Signal Iduna Park

They earned 36 points on their own turf in 2019/20, and just 35 in 2020/21. Midway through last season though, with crowds allowed to return in smaller numbers at first, and then at full capacity, BVB began to feel the benefit again, and ended the campaign with 39 points at Signal Iduna Park.

Just imagine what this new-look team can achieve with over 80,000 fans cheering them on at home in 2021/22!