Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp joked after last week’s Bundesliga win over Mainz that “we’d forgotten what it felt like to pick up three points.”
But after another setback midweek, a 3-0 Champions League defeat at Marseille, Klopp cannot joke about the defending Bundesliga champions’ woeful form so far this season.
Since a dominating 3-1 win over Hamburg to open the Bundesliga season – a win that is now put into better perspective with Hamburg’s bad start – Dortmund is just 2-4-2 in all competitions.
Although there are a few bright spots, including a 1-1 tie with Arsenal in the Champions League and the 2-1 win over Mainz last week, Klopp’s side has failed to show the same flair and dominance that carried it to a league title.
Dortmund will try to rebound from its recent defeat Saturday in the Bundesliga at Signal Iduna Park against promoted Augsburg, the lone winless squad left in the 18-team league.
Although emerging star Mario Gotze – who is being followed by every major club in the world – has played well early this season, results have not followed as Dortmund already sits eight points off the pace of Bayern Munich.
In the Champions League, one point from two matches leaves Dortmund with a big challenge over the final four matches of the group stage.
After the latest defeat, Dortmund defender Neven Subotic acknowledged his club has lot to learn one season after running away with the Bundesliga title. Yes, Marseille is a top club, but it has just one win in France after eight games.
“We had chances but I doubt we would have scored if we had played for another three hours,” Subotic said. “We were a little unbalanced in the first half, better in the second, however today was something of a learning curve for us.”
Dortmund could learn this weekend what a double-digit gap in the league looks like from the opposite side, and realize that overcoming that deficit will not be easy – even with 26 more matches left in the season.
Bayern has been in incredible form this season, rebounding from a loss against Monchengladbach on the opening weekend of the season to rattle off 10 straight wins in all competitions without allowing a goal.
Six of those victories are in the Bundesliga, while the other four were in the Champions League – including a 2-0 win at Villarreal and Tuesday’s 2-0 victory over Manchester City.
Bayern visits fourth-place Hoffenheim, which has four wins from seven matches, on Saturday.
Also Saturday, Bayer Leverkusen hosts Wolfsburg fresh off a a 2-0 victory over Belgium’s Genk in the Champions League, Mainz visits Nurnberg, Monchengladbach visits Freiburg, and Cologne eyes its third straight win at Hertha Berlin.
On Sunday, second-place Werder Bremen visits Hannover, and Schalke travels to Hamburg for its first league game under new coach Huub Stevens.
Stuttgart visits Kaiserslautern on Friday to kick off the weekend’s action.