Borussia Dortmund was cruising toward a Bundesliga championship, but a failure to maintain its high level of play and protect leads against clubs it should beat has put Lucien Favre's side in peril of letting a title slip through its fingers.

By 90Min
February 19, 2019

It feels like a lifetime ago that Borussia Dortmund's lead at the top of the Bundesliga table and ahead of Bayern Munich was so great that "die Schwarzgelben" was already being etched onto the Meisterschale.

Lucien Favre's side were helped out in the early stages of the campaign by Bayern, who were going through a transition under new manager Niko Kovač and at times even slipped outside of the top two in the league table.

But Dortmund's dominance this season was still largely its own doing. It remained unbeaten in the Bundesliga until December and along the way they made Diego Simeone's Atlético Madrid look like a pub team in the Champions League.

That first defeat, however, on the road to then relegation candidates Fortuna Düsseldorf, has turned Dortmund's season on its head and could be the catalyst that hands Bayern Munich a seventh straight Bundesliga title.

Since goals from Dodi Lukebakio and Jean Zimmer sent shockwaves around the Merkur Spielarena on Matchday 16, a confidence-struck Borussia Dortmund has dropped points in half of its league games (3-0-3).

It took the lead in matches against Eintracht Frankfurt and Hoffenheim before letting those opponents steal draws, with the latter even coming from three goals behind in the final 15 minutes at the start of the month.

Dortmund's most recent draw against Bavarian side FC Nürnberg was arguably the most frustrating of all their results, however, as it looked like an open and shut case of top versus bottom in the buildup to kickoff.

Monday's hosts had just parted ways with manager Michael Köllner in a desperate attempt to claw their way out of the relegation zone, choosing to put his former assistant, Boris Schommers, in caretaker charge at the Max-Morlock-Stadion.

But somehow Borussia Dortmund couldn't capitalize on Nürnberg's frailties and had to make the journey back from Bayern Munich's doorstep with just one point to their name, with three points now separating the reigning champions from top spot in the Bundesliga.

An embarrassing exit in the DFB Pokal at the hands of SV Werder Bremen, in which it twice threw away the lead in extra time has only piled onto the misery, while the club's future in Europe's elite competition is hanging in the balance after losing 3-0 to Tottenham in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 bout.

But even before Borussia Dortmund's mini-crisis–the club is without a win in five games across all competitions–there was already talk that the Black and Yellow might not actually be favorites to win the Bundesliga this season after all.

Fans were looking ahead to the second instalment of Der Klassiker at the start of April as a game that could prove to be a title decider, but with three points now separating the two German heavyweights, it seems increasingly possible that Bayern Munich will be top of the table when eventually hosting that still-pivotal match.

You May Like