Make or break: Three underperforming Borussia Dortmund players who need to step up

Julian Brandt (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)
Julian Brandt (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Before the season began for Borussia Dortmund, the optimistic age old question was once again broached by many. Will this be the year that Dortmund challenge Bayern Munich for the title? Can Edin Terzić and his exciting, youthful BVB squad finally push them over the line?

Bayern, coming off of their record 10th straight Bundesliga title, beefed up their squad even with the key losses of Niklas Süle and Robert Lewandowski. The Bavarians replaced the duo with Matthijs de Ligt and Sadio Mané, in addition to adding Noussair Mazraoui, and Ryan Gravenberch to an already deep, star-studded and talented squad. One that already boasted the likes of Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies, Jamal Musiala, Serge Gnabry, and Leroy Sané.

But with the signings of Niklas Süle, Nico Schlotterbeck, Sebastian Haller, Karim Adeyami, and Salih Özcan, the potential of Borussia Dortmund giving Bayern a title challenge is one that bears merit looking at their squad and potential as a result of methodical, targeted and clinical recruitment in the transfer window.

But with that recruitment and optimism, have come injury problems; issues that have heavily plagued Dortmund in the last few seasons. Injuries and illness have seen Adeyemi, Süle, Özcan, Malen and Haller all miss matches this season with Dortmund forced lean on squad depth much sooner than expected.

With Emre Can, Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard not necessarily seen as first choice players anymore, Borussia Dortmund on paper seem to have the experience and necessary quality off the bench for a long season. But can the trio bring the quality, consistency and form needed to help the team kick on when called upon?