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Borussia Dortmund

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2013/07/17 BVB News

Borussia Dortmund (BVB) to aggravate Bayern again

The Borussia Dortmund player squad with the training and coaching team for the 2013/14 season. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)

Theoretically, the balance of power should be clearly defined in the German Football Championship 2014. FC Bayern Munich is entering the 2013/14 season as defending champion and number one favourite. At least the conducted pre-season surveys indicate as such, or show similar results. And who, then, is Munich's biggest competitor? In the first survey that posed this question, 81 per cent of the respondents named Borussia Dortmund as Bayern's number one hunter. FC Schalke 04 came a distant second with just six per cent of the gathered responses.

Let's see if Munich can really reach this goal as confidently as is generally perceived. Perhaps Pep Guardiola, who received great premature praise, will encounter greater problems than expected in leading the team as successfully as his retired predecessor, Jupp Heynckes. In any case, Germany's head coach Joachim Löw does not expect Munich to go it alone without any problems. "Needless to say, Bayern are entering the new season as the favourite, but I wouldn't put it past BVB to aggravate Bayern," says Löw.

It is also a fact that Bayern repeatedly emphasises with all assertiveness that Dortmund will be a dangerous adversary. Another official version was found at BVB: the Bavarians are often given precedence when it comes to the question of favourite. Borussia Dortmund admits though that the gap established in the table on 18 May needs to be reduced by all means. To land 25 points behind Munich, that was just way too much. In 2012, BVB stood eight points ahead of their rivals from the south. That is a difference of 33 points over the course of one year.

The clear goal of BVB for the upcoming season is to directly qualify for the UEFA Champions League once again. This means attaining a minimum of third place, second place and – why not actually? – first place. To continue to experience such wonderful Champions League nights as in 2012/13, year after year, that would be simply fantastic. But to triumph in the Bundesliga would be naturally fabulous; both 2011 and 2012 triggered a sustained appetite for black-yellow championships throughout the region.

In July, the runners-up from Dortmund were the last of all Bundesliga clubs to start pre-season training. But even on their days off, the BVB professionals worked regularly and in a really exemplary manner on their physical condition. According to Jürgen Klopp, Borussia has never shown such good lactate values as in this summer. "The values are now as good as they were for a few of my ex-teams after the complete pre-season training period," explains the trainer at the training camp in Bad Ragaz.

Optimistic newcomer: "I want to win a title"

High spirits prevailed there. The excellent performances in the test matches have built up hopes of making a great impression with their top level of fitness in the first away game against FC Augsburg on 10 August. "The switching play, pressing of the ball and counter pressing were really strong. This game showed us the potential we have," said coach Jürgen Klopp after the 4:1 test match victory against the Turkish first division team Bursaspor in mid-July.

But apparently there is no joy without a drop of bitterness. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the newcomer from Shakhtar Donetsk, sustained an injury in the test match against Luzern on 16 July. The Armenian national player will have to sit out for several weeks due to a partial tear of the anterior syndesmosis ligament on his right foot. The mid-fielder harmonised wonderfully with Robert Lewandowski in the games and during training. The Pole, who did not deny his inclination to follow Mario Götze to Bayern Munich, has stayed with BVB. He totally applied himself at each training session. The centre forward had fun with the other players, and diligently gave autographs to the many BVB fans in Switzerland. BVB Managing Director Hans-Joachim Watzke explains: "Robert won't cause any problems. He is a total professional."

Defender Sokratis made a great impression as did the third newcomer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who amazed all with his breathtaking speed. The striker, who was acquired from AS St. Etienne, covered a 30 metre distance in 3.8 seconds. This is barely measurably slower than Usain Bolt, who travelled this distance in his 100 metre world record (3.78 seconds). "Pierre is with certainty one of the fastest players who has ever played here," says Director of Sports, Michael Zorc. The Frenchman, who is permitted to play for the Gabon national team due to his roots, has very interesting ideas about his involvement at BVB. "I want," he said with emphasis, "to win a title next season. If possible, all."