Borussia Dortmund might be in second place in the Bundesliga table, but sitting nine points behind Bayern Munich and having already been knocked out of both the DFB-Pokal and Champions League, it’s already been an underwhelming season for Marco Rose’s side.
There is still a decent chunk of time to turn things around before the end of the season, but Dortmund have also had the recent boost with the news that they’ll be signing Niklas Sule from Bayern on a free transfer this summer. He’ll be joining Dortmund after five seasons with Bayern, having been bought from TSG Hoffenheim back in 2017.
For Dortmund, Sule is a player that could certainly help them bridge the gap between themselves and Bayern. So many of their shortcomings are byproducts of their own mistake, and it’s glaringly obvious that defensive improvements are necessary, having already conceded 36 goals, which is the highest of any team in the top six of the Bundesliga table. Rose is well aware of this fact and he’s been feeling the pressure in his maiden season in charge of Die Schwarzgelben. “We want to defend from a good organization at the right moment. We have to work on our big issue, the easy ball losses, and develop a stronger self-image for our own game with the ball. We are not clear enough in certain situations,” he recently said (Sport1).
While he’s not the end all, be all solution, Rose is confident enough in Sule’s abilities and feels that he will be a solid addition to Dortmund’s back line. “It’s well known that he’s a good guy, a very experienced man, that he has calm playmaking, physique and greed. He didn’t win the Champions League with Bayern for nothing,” he said of the defender.
For now, the mission for Dortmund is to avoid slip-ups like the 5-2 home loss to Bayer Leverkusen over the weekend as to keep within touching distance of Bayern for the remainder of the season. Not being able to capitalize on opportunities when Bayern drops points has been costly for Dortmund and is part of the reason why they’re currently nine points behind the Rekordmeister. Rose is certainly feeling the pressure. “You honestly have to say: If Bayern are in good shape, if they don’t give away much like they did this season, you have to have a perfect season to beat them. The expectations here have become unbelievably high over the years, you can feel a huge longing for titles. Being second in the table is no longer enough,” he stressed.