Borussia Dortmund has dominated the Bundesliga in 2012 but their incredible run of 31 games unbeaten was ended by Hamburg this past weekend. Hamburg, who had been without a single point through three matches on the season, did the unthinkable and beat Dortmund 3-2.
The hero on the day for Hamburg was young South Korean Son Heung-Min, who scored two goals, including the long distance strike that proved to be the winner. Another fantastic player for Hamburg was Rafael van der Vaart, a recent acquisition from Tottenham who set up two of the goals on the day in his first home game since returning to the club.
For the Champions it was a frustrating afternoon as they saw chance after chance foiled by the Hamburg goalkeeper, Rene Adler. Dortmund hasn’t been as dominant this season following sale of Shinji Kagawa, the brilliant Japanese midfielder who signed with Manchester United this summer.
However, the team is still set to have a powerful offense featuring a group of stars like striker Robert Lewandowski and young Germany internationals, Marco Reus and Mario Gotze. Another exciting young forward for the team is Ivan Perisic, a winger from Croatia. He scored both goals for Dortmund in the loss, one of which was an incredible lobbed effort over Adler to tie the game early in the second half. Perisic also looks to be cementing his place in the Croatian national side and scored his first international goal earlier the month against Belgium in 2014 World Cup qualification.
The team is remarkably young however, and that could be detrimental for them going forward. The oldest member of the forwards is Lewandowski, only 24, but already an established striker for his national side, Poland.
Now Borussia Dortmund sit in 4th place in the table, already five points off of the leaders, Bayern Munich and Frankfurt.
Bayern Munich is always the tough test in the Bundesliga, and has started the season right with 7 straight wins in all competitions. They are clearly the more experienced side with veteran forwards like Arjen Robben, Frank Ribery, and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Munich endured serious heartache last season, finishing second in the league, and losing both finals of the UEFA Champions League (to Chelsea) and the DFB-Pokal Cup (to Borussia Dortmund) to finish the season empty handed.
For all of Dortmund’s recent success and their triumphant 31-game unbeaten run, they will have to step it up in a hurry in order to get back into the title race. They can look back to last year for inspiration, however, when they overtook Bayern Munich midway through the season and finished strong to win the title. They have done it before and would love to do it again.