The dramatic finale to the 2022-2023 German league season not only entertains football fans but also poses a unique challenge for Borussia Dortmund, the current runners-up.
With two rounds of matches left before the season concludes, the 2012 German champions must hope for a slip-up by rivals Bayern Munich while maintaining their own high spirits.
The challenge intensifies as BVB, for the third time in recent weeks, must play their game in Augsburg one day after the Bavarian side faces Leipzig on home soil, compelling Dortmund to deliver a successful response.
To keep his players engaged, Dortmund coach Edin Terzic must devise creative solutions throughout the week’s training sessions.
“We must approach our emotions pragmatically. I want us to relish the role of the hunter, as we haven’t had such a tight race in over a decade,” the Black and Yellow coach said, acknowledging that title opportunities remain alive.
Sporting director Sebastian Kehl discussed the disadvantage, saying, “nobody asked us if we like it or not, but we’ve discovered it can be a challenge we might as well enjoy.”
Despite their dependency on Bayern’s performance, Terzic and Kehl opt for a positive approach to address the minor setback in the two remaining league games.
In addition to designing training sessions, Terzic engages in a mental game, encouraging his players: “We can still achieve something truly extraordinary.”
Dortmund has won nine of its eleven games played after Bayern’s matches, suggesting the strategy is working.
The Dortmund coach aims to foster a positive mindset within his squad, emphasizing that finishing second is a significant accomplishment.
Alleviating the pressure on his players appears to boost their motivation.
Emerging star Youssoufa Moukoko admits feeling goosebumps when people discuss the possibility of winning the title for the club.
The youngster relishes every minute on the field, as this level of competition has been absent in recent years.
Before daily training sessions, Terzic gathers his players and reminds them, “We are not finished yet.”
French striker Sebastien Haller refers to Dortmund as the country’s top side in 2023, emphasizing the need to secure a victory.
Alongside Haller, who recovered from testicular cancer last summer, Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen enjoy a notable performance upswing.
“I dream of the title, and that aspiration brings out the best in us,” the Dutch attacker shared.
Meanwhile, sporting director Kehl attempts to increase the pressure on rivals Bayern by highlighting the unusual circumstances they must navigate.
“We’re accustomed to playing catch-up, but I’m unsure if Bayern is prepared to consistently deliver, as just one misstep could tip the scales in our favor,” the 43-year-old remarked. ■