Dortmund claimed a crucial 3-2 win at Stuttgart on Friday night, Klopp’s men have now claimed three consecutive wins in the Bundesliga for the first time this season. Borussia Dortmund’s dire form this season sent shockwaves around world football, few would have had the audacity to predict that Dortmund would have been bottom of Bundesliga post winter break. However since the Bundesliga has resumed and the infamous scenes of Roman Weidenfeller and Mats Hummels pleading with the BVB fans after a home defeat to Ausburg on the 4th February. Klopp’s men have slowly steadied the tide and quashed fears of a potential relegation battle. Dortmund are currently 10 points behind Schalke who currently occupy the illusive 4th place in the Bundesliga table, Klopp still believes that his side can catch Roberto Di Matteo’s side.
Dortmund’s recent resurgence indicates that the players confidence and belief is starting to return, Klopp will hope that Dortmund’s rot is over and that their return to form is a timely one with the business end of the season now in full flow. Key defender Mats Hummels has been injured in recent weeks but Klopp has had the rarity of picking the same backline in Dortmund’s last 3 victories, Piszczek, Subotic, Sokratis and Schmelzer have all provided a solid backbone for the team to build on. Klopp will hope that the clubs injury nightmare is finally behind them, in the last two seasons Klopp has had to deal without talismanic figures Hummels, Gundogan and Reus for substantial periods.
The contract renewal of Marco Reus has given the club a colossal boost on and off the pitch, speculation around Reus’s future was spiralling out of control before the German committed to Dortmund. Reus signing a new deal has galvanized his team mates and issued a real statement of intent, Reus believes that Dortmund will get back to the summit of European and German Football. All of the European powerhouses were pursuing Reus’s signature and many felt that Reus would move on in the summer when his reported £25m release clause would become active. Jurgen Klopp will be delighted that his talisman has committed to his beloved Dortmund, in recent seasons Klopp has had to say farewell to star men Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski both to fierce rivals Bayern Munich which was a bitter pill to swallow for Dortmund fans. With Reus’s future resolved and Dortmund slowly returning to form, Klopp will hope that his side have turned the corner at a crucial time.
Dortmund travel to Italian giants Juventus hoping to emulate the form that saw them reach the Champions League final two years ago. Allegri will be wary of an ever improving Dortmund and Klopp’s ability to get the best out of his players on the biggest stage.
One shining light from Borussia Dortmund’s indifferent season has been the return to form and fitness of IIkay Gundogan, Gundogan was ruled out for the entire of last season due to a chronic back problem. Many had questioned whether Gundogan could return to the form that made him a spearhead of Klopp’s team which agonisingly lost to Bayern Munich at Wembley in 2013. However Gundogan has defied the critics and in recent performances started to reproduce the form that initially saw him come to prominence. After tying down Reus to a long term deal, the future of Gundogan will need to be addressed with the midfield general only having 16 months left on his current deal.
Dortmund’s return to form has coincided with frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s hot scoring streak of four goals in three games. Aubameyang has shown glimpses of his talent during his time at Dortmund, but consistency is something that has plagued the Gabonese forward. The pressure of living up to being Robert Lewandowski’s replacement is something that has hampered Aubameyang during his time at Dortmund. Klopp will be delighted with the understanding that Reus and Aubameyang are conjuring up, Reus and Aubameyang have a great friendship off the pitch and it’s clear that their understanding on the pitch is blossoming with every passing game.
Shinji Kagawa has also started to rekindle the form that made Sir Alex Ferguson pursue signing him. Kagawa endured a frustrating time at Old Trafford and reuniting with Klopp was the best decision in a bid to get his career back on track. Kagawa’s performances earlier in the season indicated that the Japanese star was lacking self-belief and confidence, however in recent weeks Kagawa has shown signs of returning to his former mercurial best. With Klopp’s big names becoming more of an influence and with the likes of Mats Hummels, Sven Bender and Jakub Błaszczykowski coming back into the first team picture, Klopp will believe that after so many had written his side off that they can defy the critics and claim the most prestigious club competition in World Football.