The times are changing in the Bundesliga.
While in recent seasons Borussia Dortmund has been the sole genuine challenger to FC Bayern, the emergence of Red Bull Leipzig as a domestic and European force has not gone unnoticed in Dortmund.
Meanwhile, Marco Rose’s Borussia Monchengladbach lead the Bundesliga earlier in the season and Die Fohlen have an exciting array of attacking talent. So BVB have more than a battle with reigning champions Bayern to deal with, they need to hold off the new challengers.
Only two points separate these three teams in the Bundesliga table, with BVB in second on 51 points, four behind leaders Bayern, while Leipzig are on 50 and Die Fohlen on 49.
Dortmund had fallen a little off the pace but four wins on the bounce, including a 1-2 win away to Borussia Monchengladbach, last time out, fired Favre’s team back up to second place, and the latest Bundesliga 2020 prediction pitch BVB as the biggest threat to Bayern once again.
Favre looks to youth
The Dortmund boss has many riches at his disposal and he has been more than happy to put faith in some of his youngest players, none more so than Jadon Sancho who turned 20 years old today.
Before the break, Sancho was the third top scorer in the league, with 14 goals, the last coming in a 1-0 victory over SC Freiburg. And the England winger has an extra-ordinary assists tally, registering 15. Only Bayern’s Thomas Muller, with 16, has made more. In 23 games Sancho has already surpassed his impressive performance last season when he exploded onto the football stage with 12 goals and 14 assists in 34 appearances.
Defenders have been bamboozled by his scintillating pace and masterful control of the ball, while BVB’s strikers are always awake to the opportunities when he is on a run. Since he moved from Manchester City to the Bundesliga he has become one of the most exciting players in Europe and has already broken into the senior England squad.
Favre may have a battle on his hands to keep his young star in the next transfer window, and Sancho is not the only one with a string of admirers.
19-year-old Erling Braut Haaland made the Bundesliga 2020 news headlines when he arrived at the Signal Iduna Park in January, after a spectacular start to his career at Red Bull Salzburg, where he scored 17 goals in 16 games during the first half of the season. And he’s carried on where he left off in Austria, plundering nine goals in his first eight games for Borussia. Real Madrid are looking for a forward to plug the gap left by Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018, and their excellent relationship with BVB could help them to swing a 75m deal, ahead of Manchester United who would love to sign the striker.
Los Blancos have helped Dortmund out this season by loaning 21-year-old Achraf Hakimi to Favre; and he has been a livewire, making ten assists and recording the highest number of sprints in the Bundesliga at 841, ahead of second-placed Sancho who has 709. Meanwhile, Eden Hazard’s younger brother Thorgan has made ten assists too, and the more experienced players have been doing their bit as BVB made their charge to the top.
30-year-old skipper Marco Reus has weighed in with 11 goals, while midfield schemer
Axel Witzel has the highest pass completion in the league, with 95 per cent successful passes in open play and, at the back, the redoubtable Mats Hummels has won 100 aerial duels.
This is a team which can battle and dazzle in equal measure.
Champions League exit
BVB won the first leg of their Round of 16 Champions League clash against Paris Saint Germain, thanks to two goals from Haaland, but Lucien Favre’s young guns conceded an away goal to Neymar and then fell short in Paris, succumbing 2-0, when the Brazilian was on target again.
But with their league form peaking just before the break, BVB remains the biggest threat to FC Bayern’s domination; and the two sides were scheduled to meet at the Signal Iduna Park on 4th April. If we can get that game on soon then the Yellow Wall will be as imposing as ever…
And, of course, you will be able to keep up with all the news and action from the Bundesliga right here with SBOTOP.
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