A point better off than those teams currently residing in the Bundesliga relegation zone, Saturday’s 2-1 collapse at newly-promoted Cologne made it official: Borussia Dortmund and Jurgen Klopp are at crisis point.
Already 13 points off leaders Bayern Munich at this early stage of the season, Der BVB may already be focusing on the Champions League – a competition they have already proven largely competent in thus far with wins over Arsenal and Anderlecht to their name.
If only the same could be said of their domestic form, with Klopp’s strategy of adopting a high-energy pressing game proving disastrous for a team and squad littered with players recovering from injuries and a busy summer of World Cup excesses.
Influential defender Mats Hummels has put in some, perhaps understandably poor performances having played a key role in Die Mannschaft’s success in Brazil, while at the other end of the pitch Marco Reus has yet to hit top gear following an extended injury lay-off.
The loss of the talismanic striker Robert Lewandowski to Bayern Munich may have struck a psychological blow but the truth is that his newly-recruited replacements have fared well so far with Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos both among the goals in recent weeks.
Instead, it’s defensively where Dortmund have truly struggled, having gone eight league games without keeping a clean sheet.
During that time Die Schwarzgelben have shipped exactly two goals in six Bundesliga encounters with both the full-back and central midfield positions proving problematic for Klopp so far this term.
Eric Durm – the young German defender who struggled for the national side in games against Poland and the Republic of Ireland – is out of form while Kevin Grosskreutz’s conversion from marauding midfielder to fully-fledged full-back may not be as complete as previously thought.
Due to retire at the end of the season, Sebastian Kehl looks like he’s fast preparing for life after football while 22-year-old Serbian recruit Milos Jojic needs to adapt to the demands of playing for Dortmund quickly.
In each of these instances, recent injuries to the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Neven Subotic have hardly helped but despite several big names making their comebacks last weekend, there is a growing feeling that the current cycle of success at the club could be drawing to a close.
With Hummels and Reus increasingly likely to depart in the near future, Klopp could look to follow suit, though we would not rule out a last hurrah in the Champions League.
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