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Germany's rising power is an old favorite
By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Oct. 2 -- Some of the comments seem exaggerated. Regarding last weekend as a turning point in German club football is a bit over the top. But the praise heaped on Borussia Dortmund shows how desperate fans have become waiting for a club strong enough to challenge Bayern Munich. Many feel the Blacks and Yellows could be a realistic challenger for the league title.
Dortmund yet has to prove its staying power over the entire season and there is still a long way to go before they can be considered a serious rival for Bayern. The club also needs to make up for poor performances in international competitions in the past years. But in advance of their second Champions League Group A match against AS Monaco, things are looking rosier.
The reason for the exuberance is all the great lies hundreds of miles away in Munich as Bayern have dominated the national scene for so long and caused a certain amount of boredom. While they were winning six league titles in succession, Dortmund suffered a downturn.
Only in the three years between 2011 and 2013 was Borussia strong enough to be a serious threat to normally superior rival by winning the German title and reaching the 2013 Champions League final. Two German Championships in 2011 and the double in 2012 tell the story aside the club's successful years in 1995 and 1996.
Now German fans are celebrating the champions of the past like a newly emerging star.
Former Dortmund and Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said he wouldn't be surprised if Dortmund had regained the strength to win the league championship this season. The seven-time German champion and 1997 and 2001 Champions League winner spoke about the possible birth of a new and determined team when Dortmund went top of the Bundesliga after the sixth round of matches after beating Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 last weekend.
Hitzfeld is convinced the entire Bundesliga is going to benefit from an increasing competition. It will help to improve the German club performances internationally, the 69-year-old former Swiss national coach emphasized.
The source for Dortmund's revival seems to be coach Lucien Favre. He seems to be the legitimate successor to Dortmund legend Juergen Klopp who reanimated a struggling side from 2008 until he left for Liverpool.
Like Klopp, Favre is the type of coach obsessed by attacking football based on a solid defense.
The 60-year-old is determined enough to follow his patterns with strict discipline. Favre is not afraid to not pick club legends like Mario Goetze, who has lost his place in the team because he is not fully fit.
In a short space of time, Favre has developed an new core. Keeper Roman Buerki, Swiss international Manuel Akanji, Belgian Axel Witsel who used to play in the Chinese Super League, and German international Marco Reus stand for the side's new harmony and balance.
Currently, Dortmund is the only unbeaten team in the Bundesliga having scored 19 goals in six games. After signing Paco Alcacer from Barcelona, Dortmund seems to have found the suitable replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, now at Arsenal. Despite having to adapt to his new team's style, the Spaniard has scored three goals even though he has only played 51 minutes.
Favre is far from starting to celebrate As It Is too early to already be satisfied. But Dortmund's coach can't hide his pride when his side is said to have developed an unbreakable will to win games which sooner or later will end up in trophies.
"We had a good start, but a good start does not make champions right away. There's a long way to go. We have only taken the first steps and have to prove ourselves in every game," Favre commented adding his team's next task is to take an international opponent such as Monaco very seriously.