Borussia Dortmund had one of the finest seasons in the history of German football in 2015-16, as the team won 24 of 34 league games, accumulated an incredible 78 points in the Bundesliga and made it all the way to the DFB-Pokal final.
However, there was just one big problem with all of these accomplishments – Bayern Munich.
No club has ever achieved a higher points total in the history of the German top flight without being a champion. So the focus for this upcoming season, just as it always seems to be, is to find a way to overtake Bayern and capture title success of their own.
With the Westfalenstadion and arguably the world’s greatest football supporters firmly behind the club all season long, Dortmund will be coming into Sunday’s German Super Cup match looking for revenge against their nemesis Bayern.
Manager Thomas Tuchel took over the club after Jurgen Klopp stepped aside last year, and he was able to place the Dortmund ship back on track after a shaky final season under Klopp. His ability to get the most out his players will once again be put to the test.
Here, we look at what is ahead for Borussia Dortmund in 2016-17.
Roster / Tactics
Jurgen Klopp’s “gegenpressing” tactics helped bring success to Borussia Dortmund at the start of the decade, and Tuchel utilises the same formation as well.
Usually operating out in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Die Schwarzgelben look to press their opponents at every opportunity. They are known for winning the possession quickly and scoring goals at a lightning speed, often before the other team even knows what hit them.
Players like forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Shinji Kagawa, Marco Reus and Adrian Ramos can attack the goal in blistering fashion. Young American winger, Christian Pulisic has been developing nicely, and the addition of Andre Schurrle should ramp up the quality on the outside.
The defence boasts the likes of Neven Subotic, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Sebastian Rode in helping to keep clean sheets intact.
The losses of midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan and centre-back Mats Hummels certainly sting, both in being fan favourites and integral to recent success. However, the club has the players in place to build on what they achieved last season.
New Players to Watch For
The return of Mario Gotze is certainly the transfer that should have Dortmund supporters buzzing.
After leaving Dortmund for Bayern Munich in 2013, the 24-year old dons the black and yellow kit once more and should contribute both on the wing and in the midfield. In another sense, bringing Gotze back also helps in easing the pain of losing Hummels in the all to familiar switch from Dortmund to Bayern.
Andre Schurrle’s transfer from Wolfsburg brings more options in wide areas. The former Chelsea winger should fit in well with Dortmund’s style and the club now has incredible depth upon their return to Champions League football in the coming weeks.
So have BVB done enough this summer to overtake Bayern Munich? It is indeed difficult to say and we will all get a great preview of what is to come when the two rivals face off in the German Super Cup on Sunday.
The squad improvements Bayern have also made and their appointment of the fantastic Carlo Ancelotti to replace Pep Guardiola means this season will be no easier.
While Dortmund have added depth and quality in many ways, they have also lost key pieces to their success from last year as Bayern come in strong once more.
Expect more entertaining football from Dortmund, but also a second-place Bundesliga finish and an exit from the Champions League in the early knockout rounds.