In an interview with the club during Borussia Dortmund's training camp in Marbella, club captain and Germany international Emre Can spoke out on a number of topics, including the team's performance across the first half of the season. According to Can, the perfomances they displayed fell well below their own expectations:
"A lot of things didn't go right, you have to be honest about that. We wanted to concede fewer goals, we didn't always play the best attacking football that we expected of ourselves. We know it has to improve. Now it's a new year, we'll step on the gas and try to improve. I'm sure that will be the case."- Emre Can
Of course, the point of the training camp in question will be to try and rectify the issue's Can mentioned, among a few others we've seen the likes of new assistant coaches Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender focus on since coming aboard. Can noted his respect for what both acheived in Dortmund as players and highlighted that he expects both of them to be a very big help for the team moving forward. Their focus so far has been on retention of the ball and preventing the team from losing it too easily, more precise passing and defensive compactness. The training so far, according to Can, has been rigorous.
"They [the training sessions] were very intense, I'm feeling it in my legs. But that's how it should be. We're at a training camp and want to work well. The intensity was high and we know what we want to improve. We've not been so tidy in our past matches. It was a good start, but it was only a start."- Emre Can
The team certainly have a long way to go to rectify their faults from the first part of the season, but it seems to be going in the right direction. Rectifying these faults will also mean the addition of new faces, with the two most prominent names being that of Jadon Sancho and Chelsea's Ian Maatsen. Can had a few words to say about the possibility of a Sancho return, calling the English winger a "difference maker".
"Personally, I would be extremely happy because I think a lot of him and I do believe that if he comes, he will help us. But I don't know how far it is or whether he will come or not. But it would definitely be nice if he came. He's a difference-maker. He's always good for a goal, he's always good for an assist and he'll definitely help us if he comes. He's extremely talented and is simply a difference-maker."- Emre Can
Moving forward, the culmination of both new faces and polishing up the team's ability to retain and circulate the ball will be pivotal towards the club achieving it's goals for the season. These goals, according to Can, include making sure that the club play Champions League football next season.
"We definitely want to play in the Champions League again next season. That has to be our objective. We're taking it game by game and want to get off to a good start in the second half of the season. We want to go one round further in the Champions League."- Emre Can
Maintaining Champions League qualification will certainly be the bare minimum that Dortmund will hope to achieve in the second half of the season. The unfortunate nature of the results leading up to the winter break have dampened, if not certainly outright diminsihed, the hope of challening for the Bundesliga, but a good second half of the season, built upon solid preparations in Marbella can prepare the club for a more prosperous future.