Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre has been quick to play down his side’s chance of nabbing the Bundesliga title. But any observer with a close eye on Favre’s outfit will tell you that despite his reticence to talk up the chances of glory, the opportunity for the league leaders is very real.
However the Swiss coach chooses to frame it, deep down he knows that tomorrow’s league encounter at Mainz offers BVB the chance to extend their league at the top of the pile. Last time out was very significant for Dortmund. They beat powerhouse Bayern Munich 3-2. The influential Marco Reus twice managed to cancel out strikes from omnipotent Robert Lewandowski and then Paco Alcacer hit a winner with 20 minutes to go.
Reflecting on the win, Favre said:
“It was a crazy game. Bayern was very strong, they dominated us for 25 minutes. We could not master control of the ball – it was like a boomerang. Bayern were strong as maybe never before this season, but I had the feeling that they would not be able to keep the pace. After Reus’ goal, the crowd was there and we felt that we could win. The morale of the players was fantastic.”
And while the result was clearly imperative, the confidence it gives the side and the message it sends out to rivals is just as important, arguably. It all means that going into the action on Saturday, BVB are four points clear at the summit, with Borussia Monchengladbach in second spot, RB Leipzig in third, and Eintracht fourth with Bayern Munich sitting in fifth with 20 points — that’s seven behind the leaders.
Alcacer’s goal underlined his importance to the cause, and the club are reportedly on the brink of confirming the signing of the player on a permanent deal from Barcelona. The Spain ace made the switch on a season-long loan agreement back in the summer and so impressive have his displays been, that a contract has apparently been agreed. The figures being talked about show the fee could rise to £25million for a deal that would keep the attacker, who is aged 25, at the club until 2023.
Meanwhile, BVB’s Julian Weigl has been attracting interest from Arsenal with Gunners boss Unai Emery said to be keen on recruiting the midfielder, who is aged 23. But former Arsenal star Stewart Robson says he believes that the north London outfit don’t have room to accommodate Weigl.
Quizzed on whether defensive schemer Weigl would fit in at Arsenal with the likes of Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Aaron Ramsey fighting for places in the middle, Robson said:
“Well Ramsey’s not getting in the side. So, they’ve got Granit Xhaka, they’ve got Guendouzi as well, and they’ve got Torreira. Weigl is, indeed, a good player. At the moment, I don’t think Arsenal need him.”