As Borussia Dortmund stand on the cusp of the 2022/23 Bundesliga title, we are going to flashback to their 2011/12 side – the last time they picked up the Meisterschale.
This season, Dortmund’s squad is led by the likes of Jude Bellingham, Julian Brandt, and Marco Reus. By comparison, Jurgen Klopp coached a team boasting a number of club legends – with a couple still at the top of their game today.
The 2011/12 campaign saw Dortmund win back-to-back Bundesliga titles. They also won the DFB-Pokal that year, sealing an impressive domestic double.
And, when you consider that Bayern were a penalty shootout away from being European champions in 2012, the fact that BVB bested them in two competitions is all the more incredible.
Goalkeeper and defence
Starting with the defence, Jurgen Klopp was consistent with the back four that he chose throughout the season. Roman Weidenfeller started 32 out of 34 league matches between the sticks, with a settled line in front of him.
The two centre-backs for the majority of the campaign were Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic. Hummels was the rock of the defence, missing just one league game in a stellar season. Meanwhile, Felipe Santana occasionally played in Subotic’s place.
At full-back, one-club man Marcel Schmelzer was a regular fixture on the left-hand side. Opposite him was Lukasz Piszczek, whose marauding ability to get forward saw him earn eight assists alongside defensive duties.
Klopp’s preferred formation back in 2012 was a 4-2-3-1. Therefore, BVB utilised a double holding pivot in midfield. Throughout the 2011/12 campaign, Dortmund generally had three midfielders rotating in these places.
Firstly, Ilkay Gundogan was a deep-lying creative mind. Although now at Man City, Gundogan was a key piece in this Dortmund side over a decade ago. Alongside him, captain Sebastian Kehl provided an astute defensive presence in the middle of the park. Sven Bender also rotated into the midfield frequently.
Meanwhile, the black and yellow’s midfield had three attacking players. Shinji Kagawa held the No.10 spot; he had a brilliant 2011/12, having a team-best 12 assists, as well as 13 goals.
To the left of him was Kevin Großkreutz – a reliable, energetic presence of the side. When he did not play, an emerging Ivan Perisic often came on in relief for the German.
On the other side, Jakub Blaszczykowski completed a Polish tandem on the right. He shared duties with Mario Gotze, and the pair provided both goals and creativity to this dynamic attack.
The attacking midfield was pivotal to Dortmund’s success in the campaign. They helped BVB score a league-leading 80 goals – and supplied a certain forward who scored more than a quarter of that total.
Dortmund’s focal point, their target man, was none other than Robert Lewandowski. He netted 22 league goals and laid on 10 assists in 2011/12 – averaging almost a goal contribution a game.
However, his goal tally was not quite enough to lead the division. Instead, the Pole was third in that category, behind Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (29 goals) and Mario Gomez (26 goals).
It took Lewandowski until 2013/14 to win the Torjagerkanone, the first of seven in his Bundesliga career. His move to Bayern in 2014 earned an unbelievable haul of silverware – and he has now added a La Liga title at Barcelona, too.
But before that, Robert Lewandowski was the attacking talisman as Dortmund won the 2011/12 Bundesliga. This team then earned legendary status by completing the double with a DFB-Pokal triumph. In the final, BVB dismantled Der Klassiker rivals Bayern 5-2 in a thrilling game.
Although they could not repeat the feat in 2012/13, Dortmund did have a memorable run to the Champions League final with the same core. Sadly, they came up short, and the Black and Yellow have not reached the same heights since.
With a win this weekend, however, the 2022/23 Dortmund squad can bring their Bundesliga title drought to an end.
Featured image credit: Getty