Borussia Dortmund will win every game in 2023 – despite numerous improvements, it remains unclear how strong BVB really is. In any case, nobody wants to formulate title claims. Dortmund’s games reveal the background to this reluctance.
According to Uli Hoeneß, the current trend is really the friend at Borussia Dortmund: Borussia also won their eighth competitive game this year, six of them in the Bundesliga. “BVB is back!” and “German Champion is only BVB!” sang the supporters in the south stand after the 4-1 win against Hertha BSC.
It wasn’t a brilliant performance that Borussia conjured up on the floor. Most of the victories in 2023 were not, but Dortmund, with a diverse mix of reasons and of course thanks to the mistakes of the competition, actually managed to catch up on points at the top of the Bundesliga table – after being nine points behind at the World Cup break sixth place.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good position, but we’re not there yet and haven’t achieved our goals yet. That’s why we remain humble and modest,” said BVB coach Edin Terzic after the game on Sunday evening. Neither before nor after the kick-off did he elicit a statement in the direction of leaders Bayern Munich.
This can certainly be done, said Terzic, “but we won’t do it”. But: “Sometime in mid-March we’ll take care of Bayern when we play against them.” Dortmund has been completely on its own these weeks, the focus is short-term and not long-term. He wants to be praised at the end of the season in May and not earlier, Terzic said again and again. However, it should be clear that one of the goals in the current situation is undoubtedly winning the championship.
BVB: Edin Terzic has balanced the tolerance threshold
BVB’s games, even if they were all victorious recently, reveal the background to Terzic’s reluctance. Although Dortmund has improved in many respects, there is still a lot of room for improvement. “We still have so much work ahead of us,” Terzic has said since the start of the season and did so again after the three against Berlin.
His team continues to throw enough phases into their game in which they wobble defensively, lose overview and control or play too imprecisely in attack to be able to work their way purposefully towards the opposing goal. She seems to be more aware of that this year than before.
The coach has managed to balance the tolerance level of his players. They don’t get too euphoric when they succeed, but they don’t let themselves be dragged down either when they go through tough minutes in the games when things aren’t going well. That’s a great success, after all, the too early self-satisfaction of the BVB pros was always a sore point.
BVB and the collective: passion, will, fighting spirit
“Now let’s just keep going,” said Julian Brandt succinctly recently. For him, the strong start to the year “triggered a certain form of satisfaction,” said Terzic, adding: “But only until today. We no longer want to be satisfied on Tuesday, it’s about preparing for the next task to prepare.”
Terzic has always exemplified this intransigence and, after the staid first half of the season, managed to grab his men’s honor a little in this regard. Passion, will, fighting spirit – in these categories Borussia is currently stronger and more consistent than before.
There is another merit of the coach: He got individually strong players like Brandt or Karim Adeyemi running, players like Emre Can or Nico Schlotterbeck who have become agitated in the meantime have stabilized significantly and deliver convincing performances. This is flanked by goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, who has been in good form for months, and Jude Bellingham. He is the head of the highly talented team, his player profile basically combines all the positive qualities that Dortmund is currently exuding.
It is unclear how strong BVB really is
The fewer absences due to injuries compared to the previous year and the associated higher level of competition helped both the players and the team to find each other and to awaken the great potential that lies dormant in them. It’s still unclear how strong BVB really is, but they’ve become more stable and efficient in every respect.
The winning streak does the rest: The self-confidence that is so important for this talented team is currently in excess, the mood seems great. In any case, this also applies to the environment. The current run has put the fans in a positive mood again and when you hear the south stand on Sunday, real euphoria is not far away.
The situation at the leaders of the table is completely different: At FC Bayern there are several construction sites and it is much more restless. On the first weekend in April, the two teams will face off head-to-head in Munich.
BVB captain Marco Reus: “We all want titles”
Otherwise, the remaining program for Dortmund only provides away games against relegation candidates (Hoffenheim, Schalke, Stuttgart, Bochum, Augsburg). On the other hand, the direct competitors in the fight for the BVB title still have to: Leipzig, Union and Frankfurt.
It remains unanswered for the time being whether Borussia can maintain its form or whether it will return to the wave movements in performance known from previous years, as sporting director Sebastian Kehl recently did not want to rule out. “We fought extremely well and worked our way up a bit. But it’s only the 21st matchday and there’s still a long way to go,” said Brandt.
However, the past few weeks have shown that there is a team in Dortmund that deserves the name and doesn’t have to benefit as much from individual quality in order to achieve positive results. “We all want titles, that’s why we play football,” said captain Marco Reus. “We mustn’t slack off an inch, then it will be difficult.”
There are currently not too many reasons why the Westphalians could not continue to expand their series. We’ll see what that’s enough for in the end. What is true in any case is the singing of the fans – BVB is back.