By 90Min
September 29, 2019

Marco Reus insists that Borussia Dortmund don't have a mentality problem. And he's probably right.

"The own goal was a mentality problem? We defended stupidly in that situation, of course, but don't come around with your mentality s**t now," Reus told Sky after last week's 2-2 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt. "Every week the same s**t."

Mentality might not be a problem for Borussia Dortmund, but their overall quality and ability to compete with Bayern Munich or RB Leipzig in a three-way Bundesliga title race is proving to be their biggest shortfall in the hopes of securing the Meisterschale.

TF-Images/GettyImages

Saturday's 2-2 draw against Florian Kohfeldt's injury-hit Werder Bremen was the fourth time in Dortmund's last five games that they've failed to win across all competitions.

But it wasn't just another disappointing result that saw a small chorus of boos ring out from the Westfalenstadion at full-time on matchday six, as Borussia Dortmund had been out-fought by a side who haven't finished higher than eighth in the league since 2009/10.

This was a Werder Bremen side who had sold their best player (Max Kruse) during the summer transfer window without any direct replacement, while eight first-team players were missing through injury and Milot Rashica is still a couple of weeks off reaching peak fitness again.

That's not to say that an upset can't still happen. RB Leipzig lost at home to Schalke this weekend and Bayern Munich have already dropped four points this season, but Dortmund's constant underachievement is almost entirely unique across Europe's big leagues.

Even if it can't be chalked up to a Mentalität problem, it puts Lucien Favre's side in an awful position when it comes to competing with Germany's two other title challengers, as man for man the Black and Yellows still probably have the weakest squad in the title race.

And regardless of what Bayern Munich fans might think of their head coach Niko Kovač, the Croatian is hardly any less experienced at the highest level than Favre, although both are still below Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann on the managerial pecking order.


Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund & RB Leipzig's Best Starting XI

Bayern Munich Borussia Dortmund RB Leipzig
Manuel Neuer (GK) Roman Bürki (GK) Péter Gulácsi (GK)
Joshua Kimmich Łukasz Piszczek Lukas Klostermann
Niklas Süle Manuel Akanji Willi Orban
Lucas Hernandez Mats Hummels Ibrahima Konaté
David Alaba Achraf Hakimi Marcel Halstenberg
Javi Martinez Axel Witsel Diego Demme
Thiago Thomas Delaney Amadou Haidara
Philippe Coutinho Marco Reus Emil Forsberg
Serge Gnabry Jadon Sancho Marcel Sabitzer
Kingsley Coman Julian Brandt Yussuf Poulsen
Robert Lewandowski Paco Alcácer Timo Werner

Favre does have a lot of experience under his belt - more than Kovač and Nagelsmann combined, in fact - but questions now need to be asked if the Swiss manager is actually the right man to get Borussia Dortmund back on top of the table.

The last two years looked like Dortmund's best chance of winning the league title for some time as Bayern Munich are going through a major rejuvenation process, making serious first-team changes while also bringing in new faces behind the scenes, with Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge leaving by 2021.

Leipzig, meanwhile, for all their quality, are only entering their fourth season ever in the Bundesliga, and it was expected that they'd need at least one full campaign under Nagelsmann before they're considered genuine title contenders.

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

But instead it's actually Borussia Dortmund who are lagging behind this season, sitting in the Bundesliga's Europa League qualification spot in seventh place.

They're still only three points off the top spot in the table and as things stand there will still be an exciting three-way title race this season, but it's impossible to see this specific Borussia Dortmund side avoiding any more upsets along the way, let alone matching Bayern Munich or Leipzig in the biggest games of the campaign.

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