bundesliga.com puts last season's runners-up under the microscope ahead of the 2014/15 kick-off…
In the wake of Robert Lewandowski’s defection to FC Bayern München this summer, and with new recruits Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos needing time to settle despite making promising starts to their BVB careers, the spotlight will be trained even more intently on . The 25-year-old was directly involved in 30 of Dortmund’s 80 league goals last season and his directness and electric pace will be crucial to Jürgen Klopp’s charges mounting a serious title challenge.
Not many people outside of Serbia had heard of when Dortmund signed him from Partizan Belgrade in January, but the 22-year-old has wasted no time in making a name for himself. “He’s a very intelligent lad and we’re lucky to have him,” Klopp enthused. A return of four goals in ten Bundesliga outings to date give an indication of his ability, and although BVB have a wealth of fleet-footed attackers, if Jojic is allowed to showcase his talents this term the signs so far are that he will not disappoint.
Jürgen Klopp will once again be cracking the whip at the Signal Iduna Park in what will be his seventh season in charge at the club, making him BVB’s all-time longest serving head coach. The 47-year-old has stated that “we need to concentrate on conceding fewer goals” after leaking 38 across the last campaign and if last week’s 2-0 Supercup victory over FC Bayern is anything to go by, the team are well on course to achieving that aim.
Having finished 19 points behind Bayern last term, a sense of realism has descended over Dortmund ahead of the 2014/15 campaign. “We want to continue to establish ourselves at the top of the Bundesliga and obtain automatic qualification for the Champions League,” said sporting director Michael Zorc. “On top of that we want to get to the final of the DFB Cup again and reach the knockout rounds in Europe.” Make no mistake though, Dortmund are just as hungry for silverware as ever.
Dortmund likewise kicked off last season with a Supercup triumph over FC Bayern and went on to win nine and draw one of their first 11 league games. However, a spate of injuries to key players, including Neven Subotic, Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gündogan and Sven Bender, among others, meant BVB could not keep up such a frenetic pace and they went into the new year in fourth place. A strong run of form down the home straight meant Dortmund finished second and sealed an automatic spot in the Champions League.
Klopp selected a customary 4-2-3-1 formation for the Supercup triumph over Bayern, with given the nod in the lone striker’s role. However, once appeared in the second half Dortmund reverted to 4-4-2 – an added tactical alternative that will no doubt come in handy between now and the awards season next May. Neven Subotic is back in contention for a place following a lengthy injury, while midfielders Ilkay Gündogan and Jakub Blaszczykowski are also gearing up for their comebacks.
Dortmund romped past lower-league opponents in July and early August, only to suffer a 4-0 friendly defeat in Liverpool which Klopp described as “the exact opposite of the kind of football we want to play.” However, just a few days later his charges put on a dominant display to beat Bayern in the Supercup, which was much more to Klopp’s liking. A 4-1 first round DFB Cup win away to Stuttgarter Kickers on Saturday means Dortmund will go into their Matchday 1 fixture against Bayer 04 Leverkusen full of confidence.