Alles geht Gut im Neuen Jahr...

The Klopp Factor
Everything goes as planned in the new year.  BVB have come out flying this second half of the season: 2 games, 6 points, 8 goals scored, 0 conceded.  Still, we hear players and Klopp alike insisting that there is more room for improvement.  This is the mentality of champions.  Leverkusen stuttered in the Black Forest, managing only a draw against Freiburg, only to face the mighty BVB next week.  When Sven triumphs over Lars, Dortmund will then sit second once again.  Bayern beware...in the words of the Method Man: "It ain't ova 'til da fat bitch sing..."

A perfect start to 2013: 5-0 at the Weserstadion and 3-0 im Tempel. What is behind the success at Borussia Dortmund thus far in 2013?  While there are surely many reasons for it, there are a few things that need to be mentioned in the writer's humble opinion:

1) Ilkay Gundogan
2) The Polish Connection
3) The Klopp Factor and
4) The Return of Nuri Sahin.

What a goal...
First, let us discuss Ilkay Gundogan.  Anyone who knows the writer as a Dortmund fan will tell you that he was a harsh critic of this player early on.  "I don't care what he did in Nurnberg...what can he do at Dortmund? So far, I am not convinced."  Or perhaps, "He gives the ball away too much.  Looks scared."  These are some of the things you might have heard.  These opinions slowly began to change as Gundogan's performances improved.  These opinions were no longer valid in 2012 when he became a BVB legend one night in Bavaria--a Pokal match in Furth that will never be forgotten.  Dortmund would go on to win the Pokal...and Gundogan's stellar performances for BVB didn't go unnoticed, paving the way for his inclusion in the Mannschaft for EURO 2012.  And in 2013? In the game against Bremen, Gundogan was involved in nearly every Dortmund attack and most of the goals.  His left-footed pass to Grosskreutz that led to Shitze's goal--der Beste Beispiel.  Against his former club, Der Club, he was out of control again, a menace to the opposition, uncontainable, Schaltzentrale...the praise goes on but the statistics tell the real story: 147 touches on the ball, 8 short of a Bundesliga record.  And with a certain BVB legend returning, we may begin to see an even better Ilkay as he gets more opportunities to play in advanced positions as opposed to more of a holding role.  Expect more world class performances from this very good midfielder.

The Polish Connection
Next, the impact the Polish Connection has had so far must be mentioned.  Lewandowski's 12 goals put him second in the scorer's charts, but after Dortmund beats Leverkusen next weekend, holding Kiessling to a quiet evening, he should be at least joint top-scorer.  Kuba's 2 goals set the tone for the day, putting the game out of Der Club's reach early on, Pizczek winning the penalty.  Pizczek had two assists against Bremen as well--one of them a perfectly weighted ball to Kuba at full sprint.  The other, Lewandowski's tap-in, the culimantion of a triangle of Poles in the area, Kuba to Lukas to Robert (for some reason this goal isn't all over highlights, an amazing team goal...quick passing and an easy finish).  With Juve and United signing Llorente and Zaha respectively, it doesn't appear they will be buying a striker anytime soon.  Liverpool recently bought Sturridge and they aren't a step up from Dortmund anyway.  Chelsea just bought Demba Ba and while their pockets are seemingly bottomless, it doesn't appear they will be moving for Lewandowski either.  With City already having the likes of Aguero, Tevez, Dzeko (how well has he really fared after leaving the Bundesliga for City?), and Balotelli, Manchester continues to appear an unlikely destination.  With his countrymen set to stay in Dortmund long-term, it seems more and more likely that LewanGOLski will extend his contract...Nuri didn't fit in at Real or Liverpool, Kagawa just admitted to being unhappy, nobody has heard anything about Barrios but apparently he lives in China...why leave?

Intensity...part of The Klopp Factor.
Third, let it here be stated that Jurgen Klopp is the best manager in Germany now, and he will continue to be the best manager in Germany when Pep comes next season, and having beat Mourinho head-to-head over two legs this year, he is currently the best manager in the world.  All through the winter break, he stressed improvement.  Too many points were dropped in the Bundesliga, especially at home, our usual fortress.  Six draws leaves us off the pace of Bayern, who were almost flawless this fall season, but Klopp also claims Bayern's form is a reaction to BVB's unbelievable form over the last two years.  Klopp has demanded more from all of his players this half of the season and it appears he is getting more.  Given the Klopp factor, I don't think Bayern should be so confident that Die Schale is theirs quite yet.  They still have to play BVB...something they should know by now is not an easy task for them (see 12.05.2012 :)).

Finally, the return of Nuri Sahin.  What can be said about this amazing story?  Only if you are Borussia could you ever understand everything that it means...this is also probably the reason for a lack of updates from 1. BVB MKE...as celebrations continue in Milwaukee.  While he has yet to score and has only featured slightly, expect more from Nuri as he settles back home again.  If nothing else, it has served as a huge morale boost and team chemistry appears to be at an all-time high.  Santana fills in, two clean sheets.  Nuri steps in...goosebumps.

Captain Sahin sinks Bayern's shit-ship...
Anything can happen this season.  Bayern are shaking in their boots...Nuri has masterminded their destruction more than once.  And they should just hope they don't concede any free kicks within 30 yards: Reus and Sahin are deadly, any side you like.  A tough test for them in Schwabia tomorrow...let the trend of point-dropping in 2013 start for them tomorrow:


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