German Sport

In the Bundesliga: The “Weeks of Truth” begin for Dortmund

As of: March 17, 2024 5:15 p.m

Borussia Dortmund will have to face four top teams in the Bundesliga in the coming weeks. It starts with Eintracht Frankfurt. For BVB it’s about a place in the Champions League.

During the week there was finally something to laugh about at Borussia Dortmund. On Wednesday (March 13, 2024), BVB reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in three years. With the 2-0 win over PSV Eindhoven, coach Edin Terzic’s team achieved the hoped-for advance into the illustrious circle of European football nobility after the 1-1 draw in the first leg.

The game plan is tough

There isn’t much time to celebrate the success. The upcoming Bundesliga program with five games against teams from the top 6 is immensely difficult. It’s clear: for Dortmund these are the “weeks of truth”. The Black and Yellows are already far behind in the Bundesliga title fight. It’s about fourth place, which would mean qualifying for the premier class again. The team has that right now, but the gap to RB Leipzig is narrow – just one point separates the opponents.

The victory against the Dutch is certainly encouraging. “The team has that in the tank. Now we have to show it and deliver it in the Bundesliga. We want to be present on this stage next year too.”said sports director Sebastian Kehl.

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Fifth place could also be enough – but only maybe

What you need to know: Starting next season, the two leagues whose clubs performed best together in the current European Cup season will each get an additional place in the Champions League. The Bundesliga is currently in second place behind the Italian Serie A, but the English Premier League is pushing from behind and has a better starting position. Dortmund and Leipzig cannot rely on that at all.

Frankfurt could put pressure on with a win

And there is also the sixth place in the Bundesliga. It’s called Eintracht Frankfurt and is currently seven points behind Dortmund. The direct duel on Sunday (March 17, 2024, from 3:20 p.m. in the full radio report on sportschau, excerpts from 9:15 p.m. in the Sportschau live stream on is therefore of great importance. Because if Frankfurt wins, the Hessians would suddenly be back against Dortmund.

And Eintracht is in a good mood. Sixth place – and thus an international starting position – seems to be secured with a seven point lead over Hoffenheim. Coach Dino Toppmöller’s team has only lost one of the last ten Bundesliga games.

Games in the first half of the season must be a warning

For Dortmund the game is just a gallop. Because then we go to FC Bayern Munich, then come the strong Stuttgart team. The away game at Mönchengladbach is a kind of breather, because after that the schedule continues as tough as nails. BVB awaits league leaders Leverkusen and then has to travel to Leipzig.

It is interesting to take a look at the first half of the season. Because Dortmund only got five points from these six games. There was not a single win against the teams from the top six.

Leipzig has it easier

The rest of Leipzig’s program looks simpler. They have already played the games against Leverkusen and Stuttgart, and they don’t have to play against Bayern anymore either. Instead, the opponents ahead of the duel with Dortmund in the coming weeks will be Cologne, Mainz, Freiburg, Wolfsburg and Heidenheim. That’s what we call feasible.

For Dortmund it’s about a lot of money. The payments in the then reformed Champions League will be more generous in the coming season than they already are. The listed club urgently needs the income. Missing out on the premier class would be a huge financial blow.

Despite fourth place, it was sometimes bumpy and boring

Concerns are appropriate. Dortmund are fourth in the table and have only lost once this calendar year, but their performances were sometimes very bumpy and staid and far from the attractiveness that one was used to from BVB in previous years. They are 20 points behind Bayer Leverkusen – that’s a board. There have already been eight draws, one or two of which were very flattering. That’s why criticism of coach Terzic is growing.

Another indication of the lack of brilliant performances is that national coach Julian Nagelsmann has only invited one Dortmund player, Niclas Füllkrug, to the national team’s upcoming international friendly matches against France and the Netherlands. Mats Hummels, Niklas Süle, Julian Brandt, Emre Can and Nico Schlotterbeck are staying at home. In any case, it was close again against Eindhoven. While the BVB defense had everything under control in the first half, there was a sense of alarm again and again at the start of the second half. Dortmund had to tremble until the end before Marco Reus saved everyone deep in added time.

Watzke: Not a good season without a place in the Champions League

Club boss Hans-Joachim Watzke also believes that a purely negative view of Borussia’s season so far is exaggerated. “BVB is doing much better than many people believe. Realities are changing. People read that the season is not good. The fact is, there were things this season that weren’t so good, but there was also a whole “There were a lot of things that went well. But that somehow gets swept under the carpet.”said the 64-year-old. Nevertheless, he set a clear goal: “At the end of the day, whether it will be a good season will be decided in the Bundesliga. There can’t be a good season in which we don’t end up playing in the Champions League.” The next few weeks will show.

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