Can Borussia Dortmund win the Bundesliga?

Can Borussia Dortmund win the Bundesliga?

(Featured Image: Flickr)

Ahead of the 2022/23 season, few Borussia Dortmund or German football fans thought that the club had a chance of winning the Bundesliga.

With Bayern Munich having won the previous 10 titles and BVB having lost their star man Erling Haaland in the summer, many saw this as a transition year for Dortmund.

Edin Terzic returned to the helm at Signal Iduna Park and recruited some great native talents.

However, the general consensus was that it would be a while until the Black and Yellows could challenge their ‘der Klassiker’ rivals again.

Yet here we are in March, where two points separate the sides with 10 games remaining and Bayern leading the way.

But how realistic are BVB’s chances of pushing them to the wire?

Track record

Four years from 1972-1976 aside, Borussia Dortmund have been in the Bundesliga ever since its inauguration in 1963.

In that time, the club have won five titles (1995, 1996, 2002, 2011, 2012) and have been runners-up on eight occasions (1966, 1992, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2019, 2020, 2022).

Jürgen Klopp led ‘die Schwarzgelbe’ to consecutive Bundesliga titles and a UEFA Champions League final in 2013, when they lost to their Bavarian rivals at Wembley.

That came as part of a historic treble for the side from the Allianz Arena, who have won each of the nine league titles since.

Wembley Stadium for the 2013 UEFA Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund

In that time, Dortmund have been the side in second place a whopping six times.

In 1966, the club also finished behind a side from Munich, but 1860 Munich, who won their first and, to date, only major league trophy by three points.

Meanwhile in 1992 they missed out on the Meisterschalle to VFB Stuttgart by just 11 goals, with Bayern finishing in 10th place.

Bayern finished in sixth place in 1995, six points behind Bundesliga champions BVB, with Werder Bremen in second.

Ottmar Hitzfeld was in charge again as Dortmund finished six points clear of their rivals the following season, with the Bavarians runners-up on that occasion.

The race for the Meisterschale was much closer six years later in 2002, with two points separating the top three; Matthias Sammer’s side brought it back to North Rhine-Westphalia, pipping Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern to the title.

Klopp era

Jürgen Klopp, Borussia Dortmund
Jürgen Klopp led Borussia Dortmund to their last two Bundesliga titles

Klopp had worked wonders at Signal Iduna Park, helping the club retain a title for the first time since 1996 and leading them to a first league-cup double in their history, courtesy of their 2012 DFB-Pokal win.

But in the 2012-2013 season, the current Liverpool boss somewhat sacrificed his side’s domestic dominance to take on the European stage.

After the Black and Yellows became European champions under Hitzfeld in 1996, they reached the semi-finals the following season, but failed to even make the knockout stages until 2013.

That came after Klopp had successfully navigated his side out of a ‘group of death’, which consisted of Spanish champions Real Madrid, English champions Manchester City and Dutch champions Ajax.

BVB knocked out Ukrainian champions Shakhtar before magical moments guided them to the final: Felipe Santana scored a late winner to seal a quarter-final win over Malaga, before Robert Lewandowski scored four goals to destroy Real in the semi-finals.

An inspiring run almost saw a fitting ending, when Ilkay Gundogan equalised from the penalty spot in the final, only for Arjen Robben to break Dortmund hearts for an imperious Bayern side, who finished 25 points clear in the league that season with just one defeat under Jupp Heynckes.

19 points was the winning margin for the Bavarians the following season, as Pep Guardiola continued their stronghold over German football.


In the Catalan’s last season in the hot seat at the Allianz, Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund finished 10 points behind, as the team started to undergo great change.

A Pokal title followed under Tuchel but a third place finish, trailing Bayern by 18 points, was disappointing.

Borussia Dortmund DFB-Pokal winners 2017
BVB’s 2017 Pokal winners

After an almost disastrous 2017-2018 season under both Peter Bosz and then Peter Stöger, Lucien Favre came in and came closest to breaking the Bavarian dominance.

His ‘Schwarzgelbe’ finished just two points behind their ‘der Klassiker’ rivals, with derby defeats in April proving detrimental.

Favre guided the club to another runners-up finish the following season, but the gap was bigger, standing at 13 points, after the season was disrupted due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Swiss was dismissed midway through the 2020-2021 season, before Edin Terzic came in to win the club its first Pokal in four years and finish 14 points behind in third.

Edin Terzic with Borussia Dortmund's 2021 DFB-Pokal trophy
Terzic with the Pokal trophy in 2021 (Photo: Borussia Dortmund)

Last season, Marco Rose’s BVB stood in second place from the eighth match day to the final match day (34), as they finished just eight points behind Bayern, continuing the trend.

Those teams all had quality, and if it wasn’t for Bayern being so strong, Dortmund could’ve definitely added another Meisterschalle or two to their cabinet.

However, that dominance may have been a factor in the departures of some of the club’s stars over recent seasons.

So can Borussia Dortmund form a team good enough to break Bayern’s spell? Is this current crop of players that team?

Fixture by fixture

Borussia Dortmund:

  • (12th) Köln (H)
  • (1st) Bayern Munich (A)
  • (4th) Union Berlin (H)
  • (16th) VfB Stuttgart (A)
  • (6th) Eintracht Frankfurt (H)
  • (14th) VfL Bochum (A)
  • (8th) Wolfsburg (H)
  • (10th) Borussia Mönchengladbach (H)
  • (13th) Augsburg (A)
  • (7th) Mainz (H)

Bayern Munich:

  • (9th) Bayer Leverkusen (A)
  • (2nd) Borussia Dortmund (H)
  • (5th) Freiburg (A)
  • (18th) Hoffenheim (H)
  • (7th) Mainz (A)
  • (15th) Hertha Berlin (H)
  • (11th) Werder Bremen (A)
  • (17th) Schalke 04 (H)
  • (3rd) RB Leipzig (H)
  • (12th) Köln (A)

Scale: (1st-6th = Tough)

(7th-12th = Average)

(13th-18th = Favourable)

Looking into the remaining games of the season, both Bayern and Dortmund have very similar schedules.

Using the above scale, both sides will face three tough matches, three favourable matches and four average ones.

If using probabilities and BVB match Bayern’s results, then the Bavarian giants will win an 11th straight title.

However, one of the reasons football is adored by so many is that its unpredictability can make for some beautiful moments.

A game against rock bottom Hoffenheim can often prove to be as tricky as a game against a side in the top four.

Of course, the date on the calendars of all German football fans is Saturday, 1 April after the international break for a potentially decisive ‘der Klassiker’ derby.

At the Allianz, Julian Nagelsmann’s side will fancy their chances of a win, especially considering that Dortmund’s form may be finally starting to falter at the worst time.

After crashing out of the Champions League at Chelsea, Edin Terzic’s side threw away the three points in a Revierderby at Schalke last weekend, losing possibly vital ground on Bayern.

But the Yellow Wall will be doing all they can to galvanise their team, especially since Dortmund have one extra home game remaining.

They will also be hoping that their Black and Yellows can channel their belief and form from that remarkable 10-game winning run after the World Cup.

However, even if they do manage to beat Bayern at the Allianz next month, there will still be eight games remaining, which is plenty of time to make up a points gap between one and four.

Bayern have also been in this position several times before so they are ultimately overwhelming favourites; it’s impressive in itself that Dortmund have managed to remain in this race.

That ‘der Klassiker’ could be a classic but it may not be decisive. Whoever wins will not only take the important three points but a huge confidence boost ahead of the remainder of the term.

BVB are certainly still alive and do have a chance, but overall, the Meisterschale for 2022-2023 is Bayern Munich’s to lose. It would take a mighty effort for Dortmund to break their dominance.