Bundesliga Return: Can Dortmund overcome the four-point gap on Bayern?

Dortmund

The Bundesliga title race is close once again

Just like any of the big five leagues across Europe, winning the Bundesliga is no easy feat. The prospect of winning the title in Germany’s top tier is even more of challenge considering the vice-like grip Bayern Munich have had on German football over the past few decades. The fact that no team have managed to overthrow the Bavarians since the 2011/12 season goes to show just how much of a hold the 28-time Bundesliga champions have on the German division.

Last season, Borussia Dortmund came ever so close to repeating the coup they managed nearly eight years ago; falling just two points short of Bayern and pushing them right to the wire. Lucien Favre has received some criticism for the way his Dortmund side surrendered a title that was seemingly theirs after spending more than half of the season at the top, as well as opening up huge gaps between themselves and the defending champions, before ultimately being narrowly pipped at the post.

Many also argued that it was one of the weaker Bayern teams of recent times and that the title was Dortmund’s to lose, especially because of a depleted Bayern team that had the likes of ageing superstars Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery close to the end.

Dortmund looked to build upon their ever-so-close challenge last season, using it as a springboard to fight for the league again as they hoped to end the Bavarian dominance. They went about their business the right way, bringing in Bundesliga talents such as Nico Schulz, Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard in the summer for just a combined price of just under £70 million.

They also spent around £27.45million on bringing back former player Mats Hummels from Bayern, an experienced defender that was part of the famous squad that won the domestic double in 2012 – even reaching the final of the Champions League before being beaten by rivals Bayern in the Wembley final.

The business in the summer window provided optimism that this season could be the year Dortmund finally knocked Bayern off their Bundesliga perch. Now, they are just four points off the leaders once again.

A disappointing start was soon recovered

Favre’s men failed to get off to a good start in the league this season and their title challenge looked flat. Dortmund found themselves with just five wins from their opening 12 Bundesliga games, as RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach continued to impress and stake a claim as surprise contenders for Bayern’s throne. The champions themselves were having their own troubles but the Black and Yellow's failed to capitalise.

A key factor in the poor start was the form of their forwards. Spanish striker Paco Alcacer was there only recognised number nine, with elite attacking midfielders Marco Reus and Mario Gotze being played up top and not in their favoured roles.

The lack of a talisman meant Dortmund suffered. Before the winter break, just 13 goals of the 41 accumulated in the league were netted by a forward, with Alcacer bagging five of them.

Favre also had to tinker with the system to change fortunes at the Signal Iduna Park as the lone attacker deployed in the 4-3-2-1 formation was not having much luck. Ever since a 3-3 draw at home to struggling Paderborn – a match in which the eight-time league champions ought to have won with relative ease- Favre has switched from the usual 4-3-2-1 system into a 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1 formation. The change allows attacking wingers to push further forward, getting the most out of the incredible Jadon Sancho.

Following the tactical tweak, Dortmund have lost only two of the following 13 games in the league, winning ten. This has helped them regain a foot in the title race, thanks to the new formation that gets the best out their incredible young talents. Especially since the addition of certain special Norwegian striker that reignited their flame - Erling Braut Haaland.

Their star quality is as good as any

Over the past few decades, BVB have become synonymous with fresh, young and exciting talent. Now, a new era of talented youngsters are ready to propel Dortmund as they push to finally overcome Bayern for the first time since the Jurgen Klopp era in the early 2010s.

One of the star players is undoubtedly the young English winger Jadon Sancho. The former Manchester City youth star is attracting serious interest from around Europe following his extraordinary performances in a Dortmund shirt.

The 20-year-old has managed an incredible 30 goal involvements (14 goals and 16 assists) in his 23 Bundesliga appearances this season, which is more than anybody, including the 25-goal man, Robert Lewandowksi.

The change in this tactical setup has aided Sancho, with his position being more central and amongst the attacking play. It’s no wonder that both Manchester clubs and many other European heavyweights are said to be plotting a move for the England international whose presence has given Dortmund their best chance of winning the league in just short of a decade.

When Haaland arrived in January, very few predicted the former RB Salzburg man would have the unbelievable impact he’s had since his £18m move. The 19-year-old has been a revelation for Dortmund, firing nine goals and two assists in just 512 minutes (eight appearances) of Bundesliga action. In truth, his goals to game ratio has been far from touched all season long in both Austria and Germany.

The transfer is easily the bargain of the year. His technical ability matched with his pace and power have set the league and Europea alight, famously scoring twice against Paris Saint-Germain, including a long-range wonder strike.

Haaland’s stunning performances have caused Real Madrid to take note, with Los Blancos reportedly looking at trying to lure him to the Bernabeu just months after he signed for Dortmund. The 6ft 4 centre forward has been a key contributor to the German outfit’s re-emergence as title challengers, and you can count on him being the difference

Favre’s men were criticized for not securing the Bundesliga last season, but this season could be just as good an opportunity. The club have improved, in both tactics and personnel, since the last campaign and the added experience of players like Hummels will be a boost if they were to get into a similar position they found themselves in on numerous occasions last year.

Signs also indicate this could be the year Bayern are there for the taking, with a poor start from them that saw them sack manager Niko Kovac earlier in the season. Dortmund do not look a million miles away from bringing the Bundesliga back to the Yellow Wall once again and overcoming the four-point deficit is certainly obtainable.

How can they overcome the deficit then?

When the action returns in May, it begins with an absolute cracker, as Dortmund take on RB Leipzig, who are just a point behind them in third. A win will distance them four clear of the rising Leipzig, and keep up the positive trail on the leaders Bayern.

Naturally, Dortmund must hope the table-toppers drop points, regardless of their own results. Bayern will face Freiburg when the Bundesliga returns, hosting the eighth-placed club at the Allianz Arena.

The comeback match against Leipzig will be arguably the biggest match of the season so far for Dortmund, and it is an absolute treat that it comes so early on. A defeat for Black and Yellow and their title chances are at serious risk. A win, and a charge for a league triumph over Bayern is well and truly on.

After the second versus third clash, the Signal Iduna Park will see their side host Hoffenheim, who are down in ninth. The same weekend, Bayern have a tough trip to Wolfsburg, who have lost at home just three times this Bundesliga season and may not be as easy as the clash with Freiburg.

More fixtures will be announced in due course, but Dortmund can take a giant leap towards Bayern at the top by winning against Leipzig. This title race is far from over and with the addition of Haaland alongside Sancho and Reus, BVB are in a fantastic place to snatch their ninth title.


🟢 GET £35 IN FREE BETS + A £10 FOOTBALL BET BUILDER WHEN YOU BET £10 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL 🟢
Place a single £10 bet on any Football market, at min. odds 1/2 (1.5) - Get £35 in Free bets on bet settlement, valid 30 days + an extra £10 Free Football Bet Builder will be available to claim from the promotions hub. Only deposits via Cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. 18+.
Claim Now
🎩 BET £10 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL & GET £40 IN FREE BETS! 🎩
18+ New customers only. Opt in and bet £10 on any football market at odds 2.00+ in 7 days. No cash out. Get 4x £10 football free bets for set markets. Free bets expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs apply, see below. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
Claim Now
🟠 GET £30 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU PLACE A £10 FOOTBALL BET ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL + PLUS AN EXTRA £10 BET BUILDER 🟠
Place a single Sportsbook £10 bet on any Football market, at min. odds 1/2 (1.5) - Get £30 in Free bets on bet settlement, valid 30 days + an extra £10 Free Football Bet Builder will be available to claim from the promotions hub. Only deposits via Cards will qualify. T&Cs apply.
Claim Now
⚽️ BET £10 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL & GET £40 IN FREE BETS! (MOBILE ONLY) ⚽️
Sign-up via Mobile using promo code N40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more and we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets. By entering the Promo code in the box above you agree to the full terms and conditions of this promotion as displayed below. See full terms below.
Claim Now
🟢 BET £20 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL & GET £20 IN FREE BETS! 🟢
18+ New UK Customers. Must bet £20 in total on 4+ legs, min odds 3.0. £20 credited as free bets, stake not returned. T&C Apply. BeGambleAware.org.
Claim Now
🔵 £40 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU PLACE A £10 BET ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL 🔵
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY. £10 MINIMUM STAKE. ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 4 X £10 BET TOKEN. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS FOR FOOTBALL ONLY. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS AND FURTHER T&CS APPLY. 18+. BEGAMBLEAWARE.ORG.
Claim Now
🟠 BET £10 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL & GET £20 IN FREE BETS! 🟠
*New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from crediting (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org
CLAIM HERE
⚫️ BET £30 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL & GET A £30 FREE BET PLUS 20 FREE SPINS! ⚫️
New customers only aged 21+. Minimum deposit £10. Qualifying bet must be placed at odds of evens (2.0) or greater. Get a matched Free bet up to £30 plus 20 Free Spins on Fishin’ Frenzy The Big Catch, credited within 24 hours. Free Bet and Spins expire in 7 days. Additional T&Cs apply. Please bet responsibly.
Claim Now
🟢 BET £10 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL & GET £50 IN FREE BETS! 🟡
For new customers. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Now
🔵 BET £10 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL & GET A £10 FREE BET! 🔵
18+ / BEGAMBLEAWARE / NEW UK CUSTOMERS ONLY / £10+ DEPOSIT & BET TO QUALIFY / FREE BET VALID FOR 7 DAYS / NO E-WALLETS / PREPAID CARDS / T&CS APPLY
Claim Now
⚫️ £30 MATCHED FREE BET IF YOUR FIRST ACCA LOSES + 50 BONUS SPINS ⚫️
*New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football or Horse Racing multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 50 Bonus Spins credited on placement of qualifying Acca bet.50x bonus wagering applies as do weighting requirements, bonus Spins only available on selected games and expires 7 days after being awarded. Debit card deposits only (exclusions apply). 18+. BeGambleAware.org. Bet The Responsible Way. Full terms apply. 18+.
Claim Now
🟩 BET £10 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL & GET £30 IN FREE BETS! 🟩
New UK, IE & Malta customers only. 18+. Min £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card or Trustly. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5. Free bets expire in 90 days. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Now
🟠 100% BONUS UP TO £200 ON YOUR FIRST DEPOSIT 🟠
£10 min deposit using promo code 200BONUS • The bonus will be applied once the full deposit amount has been wagered at least twice with cumulative odds of 1.50 or greater • To withdraw any winnings from your bonus, you must wager the bonus amount at least 5 times • All deposit and bonus wagering requirements must be completed within 60 days • This offer may not be combined with any other offer • Wagering limit of £50 per bet Applies • Restrictions apply to withdrawals, payment methods and countries & full T&Cs apply. 18+.
Claim Now
🟣 BET £10 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL & GET £60 FREE BETS! 🟣
New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+). First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Now
🔹 GET £30 IN BONUSES WHEN YOU BET £5 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL! 🔹
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus a £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply, see below. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
Claim Now
🟢 UP TO £40 MONEY BACK AS BONUSES FOR CROATIA VS BRAZIL + A £10 CASINO BONUS 🟢
18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first sports bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Visit Unibet.co.uk for full T&C's. #Ad
Claim Now
🔵 BET £10 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL & GET £20 IN FREE BETS FOR FOOTBALL + ACCA REWARDS OF YOUR CHOICE! 🔵
New UK customers (Excluding NI) only. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. Free bet applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. 1 Free Bet offer per customer, household & IP Address only. 18+. T&C's Apply **18+. Choose either Boost or Insurance. Available for in-play/pre-match bets on selected sports. You cannot use specials, boosts, any free bet or any other promotion. A minimum of 5 selections and minimum odds of 1/5 per selection/leg to receive Acca Rewards. Minimum stake of £/€0.05. Max free bet refund of £/€20 per Acca for Insurance. Maximum bonus payout is €/£1,000 per Acca for boost. Free bets, cashed out or voided bets will not qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Claim Now
♥️ GET £40 FREE PLAY PLUS A £10 FREE SPORTS BET FOR CROATIA VS BRAZIL! ♥️
1st time depositors only. Min. deposit £10. Use code FAPOKER. Free Play given as cash, Spin & Go tickets, and a Sports Free Bet over 6 days. Tickets expire after 24 hours. Withdrawal restricted during bonus period. Terms apply.
Claim Now
🔵 GET £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £5 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL! 🔵
18+ New UK & ROI Customers only. Min deposit £5. Min first £5 bet at minimum odds 1/2 to qualify for 1x 20 free bet. Certain deposit methods and bet types excl. Free bet valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.
Claim Now
🔴 GET £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £5 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL! 🔴
18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first £/€5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 4x £/€5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply.
Claim Now
👋 50% UP TO £50 WELCOME BONUS 👋
18+ begambleaware.org; New bettors get 50% of deposit up to £50; Once per household; Min deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Wager a total of 8 times deposit + bonus, with max qualifying bet stake equal to your initial bonus amount; Bonus expires after 60 days; Min odds of 4/5 on singles, or 2/5 per leg for acca; Some bet types excluded; See full terms; See full terms; Terms apply; 18+
Claim Now
🔷 GET £30 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU BET £10 ON CROATIA VS BRAZIL 🔷
Full T&C’s Apply. New customers on mobile only. 7 days to claim and stake £10 minimum bet at odds of 1.5 or greater to qualify. Free, void, cashed out or partially cashed out bets do not qualify. Max 3x £10 free bets credited on bet settlement. Free bets must be used on 4 or more selections with selection odds of 1.3 or greater. Free bets are non-withdrawable and stake not returned with winnings. 7 day expiry. 18+ BeGambleAware.org.
Claim Now