Top one minute, in free fall the next: it was a Hinrunde of two halves for Borussia Dortmund.
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With 21 goals scored and only two conceded – both Bundesliga bests in the early part of the current campaign – Dortmund were already being tipped by many for top-flight glory, especially with rivals Bayern Munich faltering.
Watch: Dortmund thrashed Gladbach 6-1 on Matchday 6
A dramatic dip in domestic form began with a Matchday 8 reverse against RB Leipzig – Dortmund’s first home loss for 41 games – and led to a run of eight Bundesliga matches without a win, a sequence that would cost Bosz his job.
Particularly galling for the Borussia faithful was the manner in which their side surrendered a four-goal lead to draw 4-4 against Schalke in a Revierderby for the ages. Prior to that, a 3-1 setback against a resurgent Bayern side, now in control at the top of the table, also rubbed salt into BVB wounds.
The decision to appoint experienced tactician Peter Stöger , a week after the Austrian parted ways with Cologne, appears to have had the desired effect, though, with back-to-back Bundesliga wins sending BVB in at halfway in third place.
Watch: Christian Pulisic was the BVB hero on Matchday 17
Even during BVB’s turbulent run, USA sensation Christian Pulisic continued to shine, enhancing his already glowing reputation. Involved in 16 of Dortmund’s 17 Bundesliga encounters, the 19-year-old weighed in with three goals and an assist and lit up SIGNAL IDUNA PARK with his constant willingness to run at defenders.
Last season’s Bundesliga top scorer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in the hunt for another Torjägerkanone, the Gabon native ending the first half of the season with 13 goals in 15 outings and trailing rival Robert Lewandowski by just two goals.
- Pulisic’s 79th-minute goal in his side’s 3-0 win in Hamburg on Matchday 5 was Dortmund’s 3,000th in the Bundesliga.
- Die Schwarzgelben went 515 minutes without conceding a single goal at the start of the season. They have since shipped 24.
- Bosz became the first coach in Bundesliga history to begin life at a new club with five clean sheets at the start of a top-flight campaign.
A season of bizarre unpredictability thus far has many fans scratching their heads as to what to expect when the five-time Bundesliga winners return to action after the Winterpause. With Bayern now 13 points in the distance, most BVB supporters will likely hope Stöger can instill the confidence and consistency needed for a top-four finish.