Borussia Dortmund are heading into next week’s Europa League clash with Rangers riddled with problems and criticism hitting them from all sides.
A former manager says rivals are laughing at them, Germany’s greatest World Cup star is calling them spineless and their greatest asset is sparking a bidding war while suffering injury issues since the turn of the year.
On top of that, BvB are shipping goals. They have conceded 12 in five matches since the Bundesliga winter break, crashing out of the German Cup to a second division side and slipping nine points behind in the title race.
That’s despite having German World Cup winner Mats Hummels in their backline along with Manuel Akanji, who is being touted for a £25million move to Manchester United in the summer.
Didi Hamann, the former Liverpool and Manchester City star, said: “As in the entire season so far, I don’t know what the demands are, you don’t hear much from Dortmund about that. But for the squad they have, that has far too little to do with football.”
This sparked fury from coach Marco Rose who invited Hamann round to the stadium or to his house to sort it out as he continues to be critical of his team as a TV pundit.
Bayern Munich and national team icon Lothar Matthaus has also been hugely critical.
He said: “This Borussia Dortmund team simply lacks consistency, mentality and class.
“Dortmund have had a few managers in recent years, but in the end it won’t be enough to win the Bundesliga this season either.
“Marco Rose’s team and all the other so-called Bayern Munich pursuers lack that certain something to win the title. Of course, this is due to the better economic opportunities in Bavaria. But the financial aspect alone is not decisive.”
That’s as former Dortmund coach and celebrated German attacker Thomas Doll trolled his old team by saying “Bayern are laughing their asses off” after the humbling 5-2 home defeat by Bayer Leverkusen last weekend.
This is all against the backdrop of Erling Haaland’s impending departure after his agent Mina Raiola stirred things up last month.
The 21-year-old Norwegian sensation said he was being forced by Dortmund to make a decision on his future with a 75 million Euros sale clause this summer.
Real Madrid seems favourites, but Barcelona want him too with Paris Saint-Germain and Man City very much in the market.
Haaland has suffered a few injury issues and missed last weekend’s licking by Leverkusen but has still smashed an astonishing 28 goals in 23 appearances this season.
Former star and now club manager Michael Zorc says they back Rose for the long term despite crashing out of the Champions League, German Cup and trailing in the league.
He said: “The elimination in these competitions naturally affected the mood around the team. But overall, we are on a very good path with Marco.
“We are totally convinced of the path we have chosen with him. We deliberately chose to make this a long-term partnership.”
Dortmund will still be favorites to get past Rangers and into the last 16 but this might not be a bad time for Gio van Bronckhorst’s side to face them with the first leg in the famous Westfalen on February 17.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.