Borussia Dortmund saw their two year reign as Bundesliga champions come to a crashing halt last season as Bayern Munich swept away the competition and clinched the title in record time. The season wasn't a loss, however. It was far from it. They were minutes away from finding themselves in extra time at Wembley Stadium in the Champions League Final, but a late Arjen Robben goal robbed them of any European glory. But, hey, for a club that was basically bankrupt a decade ago, second place isn't that bad.
Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus
The biggest story for BVB this summer has been the Robert Lewandowski saga. Throughout the second half of last season and all summer longer, Lewandowski and his agent made it clear that the Polish striker was interested in leaving the club sooner rather than later. Unfortunately for Lewandowski, BVB stood firm and refused to discuss selling him. The back and forth hasn't been pretty, but Lewandowski will remain with Dortmund this season.
Marco Reus remains one of the most underrated players in world football. He finished last season with 14 goals and 9 assists. With Mario Götze now gone to Bayern Munich, Reus becomes the most important player in the BVB attack. As long as Reus can avoid injury, BVB will be in for another great season.
BVB set out with the objective of spending €50 million this summer, and the three players they brought in should improve the squad over last year, even with the departure of Götze.
Their big coup was the signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar Donetsk. BVB secured the transfer of Heno for a club record €27.5 million. Even with the departure of Götze, Die Borussen will maintain one of the world's elite attacking corps with Mkhitaryan, Reus, Lewandowski, and Jakub Blaszczykowski. While the Bundesliga is obviously a step up from the Ukrainian Premier League, Mkhitaryan has shown over the last three years with Shakhtar, that he can hack it on the biggest stage in Europe.
The biggest transfer that is currently under the radar is the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Saint-Etienne. The speedy winger will add a good change of pace from the sills of Heno, Reus, and Kuba out wide. He will also be a good alternative to Lewandowski up top. The best part of the transfer: Klopp will have to rely on Julian Schieber even less.
Needing to add some depth to their defense, the signing of Sokratis Papastathopoulos will end up being more important than it appears right now. With Lukasz Piszczek out for the beginning of the season while he recovers from surgery, Sokratis will be called to step in at right back and will be expected to perform at a level close to the brilliant play that Piszczek has displayed over the last several years.
Obviously the biggest loss for BVB this season will be selling Mario Götze to Bayern Munich. Since breaking into Dortmund's starting eleven back in 2009, Götze's star in German football has continued to rise year after year. The midfielder led BVB to the Champions League Final last season, but he was unable to play in the match against Bayern due to his injury. Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang are enough to replace Götze, but it remains to be seen if the moments of magic that he brought to the field can be replaced.
Felipe Santana was sold to Ruhr rival Schalke for a small fee. While Santana wanted first team football, he was never going to get that with Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels in front of him. The move helps both teams and allowed BVB to make the move for Sokratis.
Supporters will be keeping an eye on the growth of two players that the club sent away this summer. Moritz Leitner has been sent out on loan to Stuttgart. Playing time would've been very difficult for the young player to come across sitting behind Sebastian Kehl, Ilkay Gündogan, and Nuri Sahin. Leonardo Bittencourt has been sold to Hannover 96, but BVB have maintained a buyback clause in his contract
Borussia Dortmund are the best hope the rest of the Bundesliga has at challenging Bayern Munich on their way to the title. Expect BVB to finish second in the Bundesliga this season. However, their best opportunity for a trophy will once again likely coming in the form of the DFB Pokal or the Champions League.