5 Reasons Why Borussia Dortmund Will Win 2014 UEFA Champions League
Borussia Dortmund Looks Destined for Greatness
There is no doubting that Borussia Dortmund has officially become the class of the Bundesliga alongside Bayern Munich over the last few years. This has been no small task of course, as Dortmund have nowhere near the financial might of their Bavarian rivals. Instead, they relied on the excellence of manager Jurgen Klopp to recruit talented players for cheap fees and develop them quickly. After winning the league title in 2011 and 2012 while finishing as runner-ups in the UEFA Champions League in 2013, the organization has clearly succeeded in past years.
Currently, Dortmund is again surviving off of unheralded signings and burgeoning superstars to sit in third place in Bundesliga, where they're holding on to a spot in the final 16 of the UEFA Champions League. The fact that team's top two scorers are Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Robert Lewandowski is both a testament to the club's growth and its limitations. They will never be the biggest spenders in the world, but with Klopp at the helm, they will always have a talented core of seasoned veterans and young stars.
Of course, this structured philosophy will never make Dortmund a favorite for the UEFA Champions League title the way that Bayern, Real Madrid or Barcelona are perennially, but that doesn't mean they won't win it. In fact, I believe that during the current season, Dortmund is going to be a real threat in the knockout stages and could very well take home winner's medals when the final is played at Estadio da Luz on May 24, 2014.
Instead of just throwing this claim out though, I have formed a list of five reasons why Borussia Dortmund can and will win the 2014 UEFA Champions League. Enjoy!
5. Previous Experience In the Deep Stages of the Tournament
After finishing at the bottom of their group during the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League tournament, Dortmund made it all the way to the final and lost to Bayern Munich 2-1 last year. Along the way, the club's fearlessness, wide-open play and impetus on offense took the competition by storm. The experience of making it to the final will undoubtedly aid Dortmund as they work to win the competition this season, especially when one considers all 11 starters remain from the team that lost the final to Bayern.
4. The Bundesliga Title Is Out of the Picture
Borussia Dortmund has practically no chance at winning the Bundesliga title as they sit 17 points behind Bayern Munich with 15 games to play. Heading into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, this will be a positive for Dortmund because it affords Klopp the opportunity to rotate his squad with consistency in an effort to avoid fatigue and maintain good form. This ability to focus exclusively on one competition is something few other clubs in the competition will be able to do, and will make Dortmund a stronger side as the final approaches.
3. The Robert Lewandowski Factor
When it comes to winning games in knockout competitions, one player can often make the difference, and Borussia Dortmund has a guy that can score a hat trick by himself in Robert Lewandowski. During the semifinal of the UEFA Champions League last season, Lewandowski scored four goals in one game against Real Madrid, virtually ensuring a place in the finals. Expect the forward to change a game or two with his mix of size, ball control and lethal striking ability.
2. Firepower out of Midfield
In order to beat the top teams in the world, it is a necessity to win the midfield battle, and Borussia Dortmund has the personnel to do this. In Sven Bender and Nuri Sahin, the team has good cover from the back four, while Marco Reus, Henrik Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bring a good blend of pace and goal-scoring ability in the attacking midfield positions. Overall, Dortmund has a midfield that will both win possession at rates that other teams' forwards do, which makes them a real threat against any team.
1. Stabilization from the Back
One thing that Borussia Dortmund cannot afford to do is allow boatloads of goals, but this should not be an issue. With Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic paired in central defense, Dortmund has two of the best center-backs in the world. In Marcel Schmelzer and Lukasz Piszczek, the team has two capable and talented fullbacks. Getting each to good form and in good health will ensure that Dortmund has one of the best defenses in the knockout stages, and that they win the UEFA Champions League.