It has been 11 years since Borussia Dortmund last won the Bundesliga title, and despite playing catch-up, they are in the mood to get it back in their hands as an incredible 2022/23 season nears its conclusion.
bundesliga.com outlines five reasons why BVB will lift the German title at the end of May...
1) They're on Bayern's coat-tails
Dortmund go into the final three matches of the 2022/23 Bundesliga season a measly point behind leaders Bayern, knowing that any slip-up from the defending champions could open the door for them. Expect Edin Terzic to drill that into his charges as he attempts to haul BVB closer to that coveted prize, one match at a time.
While Dortmund's draw away to Bochum on Matchday 30 saw them relinquish the division lead, there is so much for BVB to feel positive about - amply demonstrated by their 6-0 demolition of Wolfsburg on Matchday 31.
"We had a lot of fun," said Karim Adeyemi, who notched a brace against the Wolves. "We played a very good game and very much deserved to win. I'm firmly convinced we'll win the next game too." Similar words will be echoing around Dortmund headquarters this week as they seek to wrestle back that top-of-the-table feeling.
Watch: Adeyemi and Bellingham at the double as BVB hit Wolfsburg for six
2) Solid form in the Rückrunde
Dortmund began 2023 in stunning style, racking up win after win - 10 in a row in all competitions between January and the start of March.
While no team of mortals would have been able to keep that pace going for much longer, a run of five Bundesliga matches without defeat of late - in which they have scored 16 goals - gives reason for Black-and-Yellow optimism.
A table of the second half of the season shows BVB comfortably on top with 33 points gained from 14 matches so far. Since the start of 2023 they have gobbled up eight more points than Bayern and hit more goals than any other team too, 48.
3) Favourable fixtures
With every match from now to the end of the campaign representing the chance to take a big step towards their dream, the circumstances surrounding the fixtures become vital. Dortmund's final three games all look manageable, on paper at least, with only one opponent currently in the top half in the table, and none of the top seven.
Next up is a home meeting with Borussia Mönchengladbach, whose season has been marked by inconsistency, followed by an an away trip to lowly Augsburg. Lastly, a potential final-day decider at home to Mainz - a tough team, as Bayern found out in their recent 3-1 defeat, but one that is beatable if history is Dortmund's to grasp by then.
Watch: This is Borussia Dortmund
The fact that two of those fixtures are at home is a big boon to Dortmund's hopes. They have the best home record in the Bundesliga this term by some distance - winning 13 of their 15 matches at Signal Iduna Park.
Indeed, by the high standards of Germany's famously passionate football fans, Dortmund's home ground, and in particular the Yellow Wall, are just legendary.
Mythical, magical, mystical: however you choose to describe it, playing in front of BVB’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 start going in. You’ve no doubt heard of fans being a team’s 12th man, and in Dortmund’s case it is undoubtedly true.
The prospect of the Black-and-Yellow faithful roaring their heroes to the club's first Bundesliga title in over a decade against Mainz on the final day of the season is very real.
Watch: All of Donyell Malen's goals this season
4) Youthful energy dashed with experience
There is something special brewing in Dortmund's squad, with everyone chipping in to the title effort. Gio Reyna's goal that briefly gave them a 3-2 lead in Stuttgart on Matchday 28 was the 13th from a BVB substitute this season - more than at any other club, with Bayern netting just seven goals through substitutes.
Reyna is one of five players aged 21 or under to have scored for Dortmund this season. The fearlessness of youth has definitely been a factor in their success, with 19-year-old Jude Bellingham masterfully marshalling their midfield, the sheer pace of 21-year-old Karim Adeyemi stretching defences, and vital goals coming from the artful attacking 18-year-old pair of Youssoufa Moukoko and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens.
While only Stuttgart, Leverkusen and Wolfsburg have fielded sides this season with a lower average age than Dortmund, the experience provided by some of the older hands in the dressing room really comes into its own at this stage of the season.
The irrepressible captain, Marco Reus, and defensive stalwart Mats Hummels are players who have been there, done that and got the t-shirt. Nobody in the squad understands the soul of the club and can better explain the weight of carrying it to the younger players than Reus, who has been at BVB for over a decade. Hummels has five league titles to his name at Dortmund and Bayern. The pair could prove to be invaluable in the coming weeks in getting the 2022/23 title over the line.
5) Edin Terzic: Klopp 2.0
What's that about a young and energetic coach guiding Dortmund to the title and breaking Bayern's hearts? In 2011 and 2012 it was a fresh-faced Jürgen Klopp who made Black-and-Yellow dreams come true. Fast-forward a decade and it Terzic is who is ready to inherit Klopp's mantle.
The 40-year-old began his coaching career at Dortmund's youth ranks while Klopp was at the club and naturally looks up to the now Liverpool supremo. "He's a great person, a great coach, he had a big impact on all of us, especially me," Terzic told ESPN.
"I'm so happy that I was allowed to work for him – not with him, but for him – during that time, and I'm happy to have seen so many good things and to have learned from him. I'm still in touch with him now."
Watch: Terzic: "Title win is a massive dream"
Whereas Klopp famously delivered on his promises to play Heavy Metal Football, Terzic has allowed his players to talk on the pitch. The incredible assortment of attacking talents currently at Dortmund have rattled in 73 goals after Matchday 31 - more than Klopp's Dortmund managed at the same point of their title-winning campaigns in 2010/11 (62) and 2011/12 (69).
Like any masterful coach, Terzic has proven to be both a motivator and a man who makes the right decisions at the right time. His idea of moving Raphael Guerreiro into a midfield position in March yielded a stunning output of two goals and four assists in three matches. Terzic also persisted with selecting Donyell Malen despite a barren start to the season in front of goal for the Dutchman - until his form exploded into life in the middle of March, with seven goals and three assists in seven appearances since.
Quite simply for Terzic and Dortmund, the opportunity to grab the 2022/23 Bundesliga title appears a huge one, and no doubt Die Schwarzgelben will be ready to pounce should opportunity knock between now and 27 May.
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