Hello Stefan, you played an outstanding season last year but the team has to cope with the departure of Gündogan, Mkhitaryan and Hummels. Is it possible to compensate all three of them without a lack of quality and are there any hints of Thomas Tuchel’s approach so far?
It is certainly impossible to replace such good players completely, definitely not as Borussia Dortmund with the given capabilities. 100M Euros were spend to make the squad deeper and hopefully this kind of quality will arise over the next few years again.
Marc Bartra is the transfer that could work as an instant replacement. He is 25 years old and his abilities regarding the build-up play are similar to Mats Hummels. He is also a bit faster than our previous captain, but it will be questionable whether his presence as well as his assertiveness is on the same level. With him, Sebastian Rode and Mario Götze we gained players with a lot of potential who struggled to establish themselves at the truly biggest clubs. Maybe it is possible for them to take the next step and reach international class with increased playing time.
Thomas Tuchel did not make big chances in comparison to the previous season. Formationwise he stuck to the 3-2-4-1, 4-1-4-1 or the 4-3-3. Considering the fact that a lot of new players need to be integrated into the squad, it makes no sense at all to additionally change existing procedures.
The strong points of BVB were mainly in the attack last season. As a consequence you conceded too many goals. Are you agreeing with this statement and where are the strengths allocated this time?
In some preseason games the team played recklessly in defence. There are obviously big problems handing over opposing players to other teammates. It will be a matter of time, which we do not really have at this point.
Julian Weigl might be a stabilizing factor when he returns completely. The principle of preventing opposing chances by avoiding turnovers should sound familiar to Bayern fans. He has to take a lot of responsibility and will be crucial for our team in general.
So far it is quite hard to project our strengths and weaknesses to the fullest. The first thing that comes to mind is propably our attacking speed. Players like Pierre-Emerich Aubameyang, Marco Reus, Ousmane Dembélé, Christian Pulisic and André Schürrle speak for themselves. Despite the departure of Mkhitaryan we managed to improve in one-on-one duels due to the arrivals of Götze, Mor and Dembélé. Especially Pulisic is evidently ready to take the next big step in his career.
Apart from that BVB will most likely look the same in the upcoming season. The team is still vulnerable against strong pressing opponents as well as in defending set-pieces. Particularly at the beginning the weaknesses might be more visible.
Mario Götze and Sebastian Rode changed clubs from Munich to Dortmund. How would you judge both transfers and how much of a part are they able to play?
For me, Mario Götze is our main transfer of the summer. Due to the departures of Gündogan and Mhkitaryan we were lacking creativity. Götze and Tuchel both agreed that his best position is in centre-midfield. Hopefully he will be able to reach his full potential and be a solid factor in this position.
If Sebastian Rode can fulfil an important role as well remains to be seen. He already showed that he is able to help the team a lot in preseason. After the 4-3 loss in Liverpool last season, people called for a plus of physicality in the BVB midfield. Whether this was the case or not remains undecided. Nevertheless Rode brings that kind of physicality to the table and is in addition to that far better in technical aspects than Sven Bender, who is a physical player as well. Overall he will for sure get a lot more playing time than Pep Guardiola allowed last season.
The Supercup is not really a prestigious event. Let’s talk about it anyway – how are your expectation for your team, performancewise?
A bold glimpse into the future tells me that we will try a more defensive approach. Rode, Weigl and Castro might be starting in midfield to do so. Up front there will be Schürrle, Götze, Pulisic and Aubameyang utilizing their crazy sprinting abilities.
Nevertheless a serious prediction at this point is impossible.
How do you value the matchup vs. Bayern and what kind of game are you expecting?
Firstly it will hugely benefit the commercialization of the Bundesliga, simply because the game itself should be exciting. There might be some entertaining action right before the start of the season. The weaknesses of one team is likely to be revealed ruthlessly by the other and vice versa. Unfortunately I am afraid that our lack of defensive stability might cause some huge problems.
However we should not take it too seriously, although a high defeat may have negative effects on our confidence. This should be the case the other way round as well, but after our recent friendlies it is quite hard to imagine a win on Sunday.
That sounds like there is still a lot of room for improvement at Borussia Dortmund. Is it possible to compete for the Bundesliga this season or have there been to many changes overall?
The only real threat for Bayern is Bayern. If they are able to keep up the consistency of the previous seasons I cannot imagine that a Bundesliga team can reach up to their level.
I do not believe that the 78 points we accomplished last season are repeatable. Especially the burden of playing in the Champions League is a special challenge. In my mind I foresee some unnecessary loss of points in the Bundesliga already.