The Start - An Analysis (Part Two)
We read all about our start yesterday. But things will not stay that way. We all know it. And that’s why in our second part, our four experts discuss the returns of Ilkay Gündogan, Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Nuri Sahin, Jakub Blazczykowski, Oliver Kirch, and Marcel Schmelzer. At the weekend, Klopp said that he’s slowly losing faith to have the entire squad available at some point this season. But our run of bad luck has to end. And if it doesn’t? What’s next for the artists formerly known as the Young Guns? And will it change the way we support our team?
Comebacks to help the team?
San: The players coming back will need some time to find their form but I still think they will be able to help the team pretty soon, at least someone like Mkhitaryan for example who wasn’t out for too long and shouldn’t need too much time to get back to his pre-injury form. Especially important for Immobile and Ramos who really didn’t get much to work with from midfield in the last Bundesliga games.
I think Reus will need a bit longer than Mkhitaryan but he can always have a genius moment even despite not being at his best that can change a game. I guess noone really knows how long Gündogan will need to get any form back after all this time but it will probably be already just a boost to have him in the squad again!
Web: They will definitely help. Reus will help even if he is not coming back in his best shape. Mkhitaryan has not been injured for long, so he should be able to help pretty soon. Gündogan is a different matter. He has been out for more than a year and it will take some time for him to get even close to where he was. But looking at our midfield now he should be able to help nonetheless. The same goes for players like Sahin, Blaszczykowski and Kirch who had long injury breaks (of course not even close to the time Gündogan was out). They will take some time after their comebacks to get into shape, but still they will provide Klopp with some valuable options right from the start.
Nadja: Yes, most definitely! The creativity of Reus, Mhkitaryan and Gundogan is a huge addition to the talent pool. However, they are coming back from injuries, Gundogan hasn't played a game in the past year, to expect miracles from them just wouldn't be fair.
Vanni: I hope so. Reus, Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gündogan (!) can bring back creativity to the midfield. However, gaining some time to gain match practice and continuity for our defense will be more important. Mats Hummels needs to get back to 100 percent soon and could be the leader of our squad again, giving back confidence and continuity.
Realistic goals for the season?
San: I still think qualifying for the Champions League remains a realistic season goal. Many other teams up there have struggled with good early form too and apart from the already very big gap to Bayern again I think it’s still realistic that we can finish somewhere between 2 and 4.
Web: With only seven matches played it is too soon to let the original aim of direct Champions League qualification go. But this will only be a realistic option if we start to get results until the winter-break. If not, it will be time to re-think our ambitions in winter. Right now, I'd say Champions League is still possible next season.
Nadja: The season has only just begun. We will probably not going to be champion this season, but that wasn't to be expected in the first place anyway. With other favorites for the champions league places also struggling at the beginning of this season, I think it's still realistic enough to aim for #2.
Vanni: Nothing is lost yet. Borussia is not in danger of finishing the season on rank six or so, the qualification to the Champions League is still in reach so this has to remain the goal for the running season.
Consequences of BVB failing to achieve their goals. For the club, for me as BVB supporter?
San: I think financially we would be okay if we didn’t play in the Champions League next season but it would be tricky keeping players like Reus or Gündogan. I already think the chances that Reus will extend are not really the best and if we didn’t qualify for the Champions League I’d think would be pretty much zero. If Gündogan gets anywhere near his best form during the season I could see the same problem there. For me personally as a fan I think we have gone through a lot worse during the last years than not playing in Europe.
Web: For the club it would mean that key players like Reus and Gündogan are likely to go at the end of the season and that there would not be the same ammount of spending money like this summer to close the gaps they leave behind. Also it could mean a blow to the international marketing campaign the club has launched recently but that would only mean to lose options not money. The club's financial basis seems strong enough to cover a season without Champions League football without major changes to the wage budget.
For me personally it would not mean much. I would be angry because I think that we have the 2nd best squad in Bundesliga so it should be our aim to end up somewhere at the top of the table. For next season it would save me some money for my season ticket and some time during the weeks.
Nadja: If we would miss the direct qualification for the CL or even the 4th place, it sure would be a huge disappointment. I can't really tell what it would mean for the club. Probably some issues more in keeping players like Reus and Hummels. On the other hand I don't expect any issues in any other field than that. But the sphere around the club would probably be a little depressed.
For me personally, I would sure be disappointed, because we have the quality to qualify for the CL. But it wouldn't change anything at all. We have seen a lot worse, we don't need titles to be happy (even though it is always nice, I admit!) and I'd rather support a team of great characters and fighters in the Europa League (or even further down) then a bunch of soulless winning-machines in the CL. (No offence, Bayern!)
Vanni: This is hard to predict. Of course, many fans would be disappointed if Borussia would not manage to qualify for next year's Champions League. I don't think that many players would leave Borussia Dortmund just because of this fact because I trust our officials to have a backup plan and be not too risky so that we would be doomed to reach the European competitions each and every year. However, I'm still positive that our goals will be reached.
Vanni, Nadja, San, Web, 15.10.2014