Photo: Marco Reus lays prone with an ankle injury. (Getty Images)
Despite being the obvious threat to Bayern Munich's Bundesliga title, Borussia Dortmund has another battle on their hands that is affecting their ability to challenge the Bavarians. Jurgen Klopp must be cursing his luck because over the last 12 months he has been unable to have a full squad at his disposal. The injuries are piling up at the Signal Iduna Park and the injuries suffered are to their key players.
Since their sensational run to the 2013 Champions League final, the BVB has suffered with some severe injury problems. Perhaps the demand and work that Klopp's men put in to reach the final as well as to compete in the Bundesliga have taken its toll on the players. Klopp had a fairly thin squad and their run to the final was nothing short of magical with the way they play the effort that goes into their game.
Since preseason (August) last year, Ilkay Gundogan suffered a back injury and is yet to return to action. The midfield maestro who is the man that made Dortmund tick is a huge loss for Klopp and his return date is yet to be announced. He was expected to return at the start of this season but Klopp has stated that he has suffered a setback with a muscular problem but he will train and return when the time is right.
The likes of Neven Subotic and Jakub Blaszczykowski were victims of the anterior cruciate ligament damage. Subotic has since returned to action but Blaszczykowski has suffered a setback so his return to action may happen later this season.
Even though he scored over 20 goals last season, Marco Reus suffered many injuries and is currently on the sidelines after aggravating the ankle injury that kept him out of the World Cup. Reus is perhaps the BVB's most potent weapon going forward and his loss is a massive blow to their hopes this season. Captain Mats Hummels is yet to feature this season as he is yet to recover from an injury he picked up at the World Cup. The 25 year old is one of the best defenders in the world so Klopp as well as the fans will hope he will return as soon as possible to stabilize the defense.
Nuri Sahin is also on the medical table for an extended period after undergoing surgery on his left knee. The Turkish midfielder has been a mainstay in Gundogan's absence but faces 2 months on the sidelines. The latest blow comes in the form of their Armenian superstar Henrik Mkhitaryan. The 25 year old playmaker is set to miss a month of action with a foot injury. In the absence of Reus, the Armenian was expected to lead the charge in attack but his absence now puts the pressure on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the returning Shinji Kagawa.
Klopp would have been excited by new recruits Ciro Immobile, Adrian Ramos, Matthias Ginter, Kagawa and Ji Don-Wong but he is yet to have a full and healthy squad on the training pitch. There is no doubt that there is quality in their ranks and for the first time they have depth which makes them even more dangerous to Bayern's crown. However, if Klopp cannot keep his team healthy then they will be unable to challenge Pep Guardiola's men. Conversly, if everyone returns to action and finds some good form, the rest of Europe will have to be on the look-out because this is an excellent Dortmund team that can defeat the best on their day.