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Every soccer fan base has its share of optimists and pessimists. Borussia Dortmund is no different – and, true to form, the two groups of supporters have contrasting views of where the club is at as we approach the end of a season in which BVB have been unable to prevent Bayern Munich from winning their 10th consecutive Bundesliga title, but have nonetheless comfortably secured a place in the top four.
Let us begin with the optimists. They focus on the fact that, despite their huge financial advantage, Bayern have not had everything their own way this term. In their reading of events, Dortmund would have got closer to the champions had they not shot themselves in the foot so often.
That is seen as a fixable problem and one which should not be so prominent in Marco Rose’s second season at the helm, particularly as Bayern seem to be going through a transition with several of the side’s stalwarts now well into their 30s. Moreover, Erling Haaland’s imminent exit from Signal Iduna Park will bring in funds that can be used to replenish the squad.
The pessimists are not convinced by this reading. It is true that Bayern have been far from flawless this season, as evidenced by their elimination from the Champions League in the quarter-finals by Villarreal, but they could still finish 12 points or more above Dortmund. They are likely to invest heavily this summer, while Dortmund will struggle to replace Haaland’s goals when the Norway international moves on. These fans do not conceive of a BVB title tilt next term.
It is too early to rule on that, and much will depend on Bayern and Dortmund’s transfer business in the coming months. One thing is for sure, though: Rose’s side must become more consistent if they want to push Bayern all the way in the 2022/23 campaign.
This season has been only the second Greuther Furth have experienced as a Bundesliga club. Their first taste of life at the top table came in 2012/13, when they were immediately relegated back to the 2. Bundesliga with just 21 points to their name. Unfortunately for the Bavarians, they might not even reach that measly tally this time around.
With two rounds of fixtures remaining, Greuther Furth have amassed 18 points from a possible 96. They have already been relegated back to the second tier and can no longer even finish the second-bottom of the standings. Ever since a 3-0 loss to Mainz at the end of August, Greuther Furth have occupied last place – and that is where they will remain until the curtain comes down on the campaign.
It was always going to be tough for them to avoid relegation back to the 2. Bundesliga, a division they only clambered out of by a two-point margin last season. They did not even have one of the biggest budgets in the second tier last season, and the money at their disposal meant staying up was always going to be a tall order.
Greuther Furth have struggled at both ends of the field, conceding a league-high 77 goals and scoring only 26, the second-lowest tally in the top flight.
Last weekend’s meeting with Bochum was a prime example of why Dortmund failed to keep pace with Bayern at the summit of the standings. Bochum are a mid-table side. They will probably finish in the bottom half. They headed to Signal Iduna Park more in hope than expectation, having won only one of their previous six Bundesliga assignments.
Yet Dortmund contrived to lose 4-3 to Thomas Reis’s side. They went 2-0 down inside eight minutes, leaving the home fans stunned. A Haaland-inspired Dortmund fought back, as a hat-trick from their star man saw Rose’s men take the lead. Yet BVB still found a way to lose, as Bochum struck twice in the closing stages.
This sort of thing happens to Dortmund too often, but it is hard to envisage something similar taking place at the Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer this weekend.
Greuther Furth have failed to score in four of their last six matches, and in a total of 11 games this Bundesliga season. Dortmund are not exactly Fabio Capello’s Milan when it comes to defensive solidity, but they should be able to keep the home team out pretty comfortably in this one. Back BVB to win to nil.
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|Greuther Furth vs Borussia Dortmund Information|
|Teams||Greuther Furth vs Borussia Dortmund|
|Location||Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer, Furth, Germany|
|Time||Saturday, 7 May 2022, 9.30 AM EDT|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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