What else can go wrong for Borussia Dortmund this season? It’s unthinkable to imagine the Germany Bundesliga sliding further with the kind of season they are having.
That’s unless you go back to 2003 when poor financial management led to a heavy debt load and the sale of their Westfalenstadion grounds.
It took for a loan of €2 million from Bayern to Dortmund for several months to pay their payroll.
In 2005, Dortmund was again driven to the brink of bankruptcy that involved a a 20% pay cut for all players. Those times sound very distant.
However, Dortmund are bankrupt, at least on the pitch, ahead of the Ruhr derby with local rivals Schalke 04 at the Signa Iduna Park today. Dortmund are without a win since late September in the Bundesliga: losing three times in succession. They drew with minnows APOEL Nicosia in the Uefa Champions League.
The blame game in Germany has engulfed everyone. Just last week, main goal scorer Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was left out of the squad for disciplinary reasons.
Predictably, the manager Peter Bosz is coming under immense criticism and goalkeeper Roman Burki’s howlers have been too regular.
This phase has seen the club plummet from the summit to fifth on 20 points, nine adrift of leaders Bayern Munich.
Bosz, who joined from Dutch side Ajax Amsterdam, had seen his team win six of their opening seven games only for 3-2 home loss to RB Leipzig on October 14 to derail his team.
Ironically, that day, in England, Crystal Palace snapped a seven-match losing streak to defeat London rivals Chelsea 2-1.
Palace showed the kind of spirit only seen in derbies. There is a lot Dortmund can borrow from that game and of course not much else from Palace who lie bottom in England.
And the players know it. Boosted by the return of Christian Pulisic, Dortmund held a public training session on Wednesday and midfielder Mario Gotze emphasized why beating Schalke in a must.
“We are very well aware of the importance of the match for our Bundesliga campaign, and we also know what’s at stake,” Gotze said
An under-fire Bosz will have loved those words days after he started to change the way the team plays in the 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur.
He employed a more conservative approach, sacrificing a bit of possession and set up a few yards deeper, with holding midfielder Julian Weigl lining up a bit closer to the defence.
The next challenge should how they defend as the band led by Marc Bartra could pass for impersonators on recent displays.
Dortmund vs Schalke
Frankfurt vs Leverkusen
Augsburg vs Wolfsburg
Leipzig vs Bremen
Freiburg vs Mainz
Gladbach vs Bayern
Hamburg vs Hoffenheim
Cologne vs Hertha