While there have been some significant outs in Borussia Dortmund’s transfer business, manager Thomas Tuchel seems to be doing an admirable job of balancing the team’s losses with some smart acquisitions.
So while the loss of last season’s Bundesliga-leading assist-maker Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Manchester United is a blow, it’s one that’s been softened by the return of Mario Gotze from Bayern Munich and the acquisition of Andre Schurrle from Wolfsburg.
But ultimately Dortmund’s success or failure in this summer’s transfer market could hinge upon the Bundesliga runner-up’s ability to keep hold of striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabonese goal-getter was linked with moves to Real Madrid and Manchester City earlier this summer.
However, Aubameyang, who scored 25 goals in the Bundesliga last season, has made a very public proclamation that he intends to remain at Dortmund and believes the team has “the potential to beat FC Bayern this season.”
Aubameyang’s statement of intent must come as music to the ears of Dortmund fans who’ve grown all too accustomed to seeing the club lose its best players every summer – usually to FC Bayern.
With Marco Reus also still on the books, the Westphalia-based powerhouse boasts an attack with the potential to be one of the most explosive in Germany. With the likes of Shinji Kagawa, Nuri Sahin and promising young American talent Christian Pulisic also chipping in with goals, Dortmund’s front six could in fact be the envy of many top clubs around Europe.
On the defensive side, the loss of Mats Hummels – to Bayern of course – can hopefully be mitigated by the addition of Marc Bartra. The 25-year-old center-back joined Dortmund from Barcelona after reportedly falling out of favor with Barça boss Luis Enrique.
Bartra, a regular with the Spanish national team, was schooled at Barcelona’s La Masia academy and should slide in nicely at Dortmund, where Tuchel has added more emphasis on possession to the ‘gegenpressing’ high-octane style his predecessor Jurgen Klopp favored.
Dortmund have seen mixed results in preseason. They destroyed Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United by a scoreline of 4-1 earlier this summer, but suffered a frustrating loss to Athletic Bilbao this week.
But the “phony war” of preseason cup football is looming large and Dortmund will face Bayern in the German Super Cup on Sunday before facing Eintracht Trier in the first round of the DFB Pokal Cup the following week.
By the time their Bundesliga season opener against Tuchel’s former club Mainz rolls around on August 27, we should have a better idea as to whether this is the season that Dortmund will indeed steal the title from Bayern, or at least “cause them problems,” as Aubameyang believes they can.
You can catch Borussia Dortmund in action in the Bundesliga this season on Fox Sports 1.