Champions of Germany as recently as 2011 and 2012, and UEFA Champions League finalists at Wembley a little over 18 months ago, Borussia Dortmund are languishing in 17th place following ten defeats in the first half of the campaign. bundesliga.com looks back on what has been one of the most miserable periods in Borussia's illustrious history...
With the memories of defeat in the DFB Cup final banished, Dortmund were in high spirits heading into the new season. Marquee signing Ciro Immobile (pictured) had returned to fitness following his FIFA World Cup exploits, while the acquisitions of Dong-Won Ji and Adrian Ramos had added depth to the BVB squad. A measure of revenge was then gained with victory over FC Bayern München in the Super Cup, and confidence was high that Borussia could give the Bavarians a hard time.
As it transpired, that early season promise seemed to be dashed from the opening whistle of their very first game. Dortmund conceded the fastest goal in Bundesliga history at home to Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Matchday 1 and eventually lost the game 2-0. Nine more domestic defeats followed, as well as seemingly countless injuries to key first-team players and a total erosion of confidence among Jürgen Klopp's famously competitive bunch. The winter break could not come soon enough.
- Only Bayern (66 per cent) averaged more possession in matches than Dortmund (54.6 per cent) in the first half of the season
- Collectively, BVB have covered an average of 120,3 km per game, a greater distance than any other side in the division.
- Borussia have made more sprints than any other team in the division, recording an average of 243 a game
- Borussia Dortmund have needed 17 shots per goal this season; only Hamburger SV have a worse chance conversion rate
- BVB have conceded seven goals from counter-attacks, more than any other team
- Only bottom club SC Freiburg (six) made more mistakes that led directly to goals than Dortmund (five) in the Hinrunde
Best of social media
Hi everyone, I'll be back again! Thanks for all your lovely and well intentioned messages wishing me to get better soon. Speak soon!— Marco Reus (@woodyinho) November 24, 2014
In the absence of the team's talisman Marco Reus, Aubameyang has take on the responsibility of helping to drag the club forward. He is the team's top scorer with five goals, has also weighed in with three assists, and his three strikes in the Champions League played a major part in Dortmund winning their group. So far, the Gabonese international, set to be away at the Africa Cup of Nations between 17 January and 8 February, has been one of the few rays of light for BVB fans this term.
"The best thing about today is that the football year of 2014 is over."
- A dejected Jürgen Klopp after Borussia's final game of the calendar year, a 2-1 defeat at SV Werder Bremen on Matchday 17.
Matchday 16: Borussia Dortmund 2-2 VfL Wolfsburg
A wonderfully exciting game for the neutrals, Dortmund were just a few minutes away from securing only their fifth win of the season thanks to goals from Aubameyang and Immobile. Unfortunately for them, Wolfsburg’s goal-poaching centre-back Naldo was on hand to deny the Schwarz-Gelben with a late header.
After some hard work on the training ground over the winter, not to mention a considerable amount of soul-searching, Dortmund will look to salvage what they can of the domestic season and begin climbing the table. Slovenian international Kevin Kampl (pictured) has been signed to help alleviate their goalscoring problems, but the biggest improvements will need to be made defensively if they are to climb away from the relegation zone. After that, they may just think about qualifying for Europe again.