A lengthy winter break has done nothing to rejuvenate Borussia Dortmund, who are now marooned at bottom of the Bundesliga after losing at home to Augsburg.
Their 1-0 reverse at the Westfalenstadion, against a minnow who had never recorded a league win over Die Schwarzgelben prior to yesterday and played around a third of the match with ten men, left Jurgen Klopp’s troops two points adrift at the foot of the table.
Having spent several years battling, and occasionally beating, Bayern Munchen for the German title, the prospect of Dortmund dropping down to the second tier is both entirely incomprehensible, yet distinctly plausible.
Given the supposed strength of their squad, it’s widely anticipated that they’ll heave themselves clear of the mire in which they wallow, but the 7/1 that says they’ll go down must be worth entertaining.
A trip to Freiburg and a genuine relegation six-pointer is next up for the nose-diving Borussians and with seven losses from ten on the road so far, it ranks a reasonable bet that they’ll be beaten by a team unbeaten in three at home.
At 4/1, the hosts can’t be ignored.
As Dortmund’s situation threatens to deteriorate, several continental heavyweights will be frothing at the chops over the prospect of a post-relegation summer yard sale at the Westfalenstadion.
Mats Hummels, Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan are just three of their sought-after stars linked with mega-money moves multiple times a week, yet the question must be asked, are these players actually any good?
Nuri Sahin and Shinji Kagawa are two examples of Borussian heroes to be plucked from the ranks for top dollar to flop spectacularly in unfamiliar surroundings.
Hummels, for instance, skippers a defence that’s now kept a paltry two clean sheets in ten, but retails north of the £30m mark.
The fundamental reason behind Dortmund’s plight is that their raft of lauded talents haven’t been good enough and, as a result, can’t be worth the exorbitant sums their harem of suitors are being demanded to pay.