Spearheaded by Erling Haaland, Borussia Dortmund and new coach Marco Rose go into the new 2021/22 Bundesliga season looking to be the team who finally dethrone Bayern Munich…
After back-to-back runners-up finishes under Lucien Favre, Dortmund began 2020/21 seeking to push on and finally go one better. An opening 3-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach boded well, but they followed that with a 2-0 loss at Augsburg that summed up the inconsistent campaign that would unfold. A 5-1 defeat at home to VfB Stuttgart in December spelled the end for Favre, with his assistant Edin Terzic taking over until the end of the season.
Form and confidence evaded them, as proven when they failed to hold onto a 2-0 lead from the first nine minutes away at Bayern in March, but BVB did finally come good when it mattered. Winning their final seven games of the season ensured they would ultimately qualify for the UEFA Champions League after that goal had previously looked beyond them. Die Schwarzgelben also made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League and cruised all the way to Berlin for the final of the DFB Cup, which they won for the fifth time thanks to braces apiece from Haaland and Jadon Sancho in a 4-1 win over RB Leipzig.
Haaland was the figurehead for the team with a blistering 41 goals in 41 competitive appearances, including 27 in 28 in the league. After a difficult start to the season, Sancho also burst into life in the new year. The winger got 16 goals in all competitions, of which 12 came in 2021 and six were scored in the DFB Cup, making him the top scorer in the 2020/21 edition to go with five assists.
The big arrival at the Signal Iduna Park is that of coach Rose. The 44-year-old joins on a three-year deal after spending the last two years at Mönchengladbach and guiding them into the Champions League knockout stage for the very first time. Having beaten Bayern twice in four meetings there, Dortmund are hoping he can do the same now with them.
The main signings so far in terms of players are those of goalkeeper Gregor Kobel and forward Donyell Malen, with the latter arriving at the club to counter Sancho's departure. Kobel, meanwhile, impressed last season with Stuttgart and is expected to oust fellow Swiss stoppers Roman Bürki and Marwin Hitz after they shared duties last season. Teenagers Soumaila Coulibaly and Abdoulaye Kamara have also both joined the BVB ranks from Paris Saint-Germain. Club legend and veteran of the back-to-back titles under Jürgen Klopp, Lukasz Piszczek, has left to return to Poland.
How might Dortmund line up?
What to expect
We’ve seen everything imaginable from Dortmund in recent years. They can absolutely blow teams away but then also be overrun themselves. It’s that inconsistency that has seen them fall short since the Klopp days. Thomas Tuchel, Peter Bosz, Peter Stöger, Favre and Terzic have all tried to settle things in the meantime – will Rose finally get the best out of this team, making them solid at the back and a force up front?
He will undoubtedly have the goals from Haaland, but just need to make sure all of the other pieces of the puzzle fit in order to challenge for the Meisterschale over the full course of 34 matchdays. As ever at Dortmund, the Bundesliga remains the priority, but the five-time DFB Cup and 1997 Champions League winners are also always looking to go deep in those competitions.
Watch: What's coming for Dortmund in 2021/22?
DFB Cup: Wehen Wiesbaden 0-3 Dortmund
Dortmund vs. Eintracht Frankfurt (Saturday, 14 August)
Supercup: Dortmund vs. Bayern (Tuesday, 17 August)
Freiburg vs. Dortmund (Saturday, 21 August)
Dortmund vs. Hoffenheim (Friday, 27 August)
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Dortmund (Saturday, 11 September)
Champions League: First group game (14/15 September)
Dortmund vs. Union Berlin (Sunday, 19 September)
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Dortmund (Saturday, 25 September)