2018/19 will be Christian Pulisic's third season in the Bundesliga, and expectations are getting higher and higher for the American star. - © © gettyimages
2018/19 will be Christian Pulisic's third season in the Bundesliga, and expectations are getting higher and higher for the American star. - © © gettyimages

Borussia Dortmund: That was 2017/18... what now for 2018/19?


Batman replaced by 'Batsman', Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out and Michy Batshuayi in, a stunning cameo from Marco Reus, Robin to both, and Christian Pulisic making more forward strides as the yellow-and-black hot-seat whizzed round: the 2017/18 Bundesliga season was nothing if not eventful for Borussia Dortmund.

With Lucien Favre stepping in for the new campaign, a new wind should sweep through the Signal Iduna Park — bundesliga.com takes a look at how Die Schwarzgelben did last term and ponders just how they might fare in the 2018/19 season.

Watch: Borussia Dortmund's 2017/18 season review!

What was: 2017/18:

With Peter Bosz - fresh from taking a youthful, exciting Ajax side to the UEFA Europa League final - replacing Thomas Tuchel at the helm of a side that had finished third the previous season, optimism reigned that Dortmund could seriously challenge Bayern Munich, despite knowing Reus would watch most of the season from the sidelines following his DFB Cup final injury.

Bish, bash, Bosz sums up Dortmund's tumultuous Hinrunde. BVB's new Dutch boss could not have asked for a better start, and his side - 16 points and a +18 goal difference in his opening six matches were both club records. A five-point advantage over Bayern was quickly built, but then just as speedily frittered away as Bosz's mojo mysteriously and devastatingly disappeared.

His replacement by Peter Stöger before Christmas kept the club on an even-ish keel, and the keen-witted capture of Batshuayi to replace Aubameyang in January was a masterstroke, one as necessary as it was brilliant for a side that would have otherwise been lacking a spearhead. The Chelsea forward's goal-filled cameo and Reus' late season return and rash of goals helped secure a top-four finish that was in the balance until the final kick of the season.

Lucien Favre coached Marco Reus to the most prolific scoring season of his career so far while at Borussia Mönchengladbach. - © imago / Moritz Müller

What now: 2018/19

Dortmund fans' greatest wish will be not to go through the same season as they endured in 2017/18 with high hopes initially fulfilled and then spectacularly dashed. Favre's track record, notably with Borussia Mönchengladbach, suggests he will provide nearly as many fireworks going forward as Bosz but with a defensive discipline that will make his side tougher to score against. A top-four finish is the bare minimum, but Favre - and especially the BVB fans - will be hopeful of replacing fierce rivals Schalke as Bayern's strongest challengers.

Sit down, strap in and hold on tight, because this could be the most exciting, thrill-a-minute Dortmund season - in purely the positive sense of the term - since Jürgen Klopp claimed the second of his back-to-back titles in 2011/12. Favre took Hertha and Gladbach into European competition - the latter the season after miraculously saving the Foals from relegation. Just imagine what he can do with a squad boasting the collective, mouthwatering attacking potential of Reus - turned into the player he is by Favre at Gladbach - Pulisic, Jadon Sancho, Maximillian Philipp and new signing Marius Wolf.

There is one major piece missing, however, and that needs to found in the summer transfer window: an effective, prolific replacement for Aubameyang. Dortmund fans may have to wait until the end of the World Cup to learn the identity of their new goalscoring hero. Whoever he is, he will get chances. And if he puts them away, look out Bundesliga!

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