It’s been a disappointing first half, starting with Sebastian Haller’s diagnosis, continuing through more injuries (Reus, Dahoud, Reyna, Bynoe-Gittens). Some players have still not lived up to their promise, most notably Malen and Adeyemi.
The result is we are sitting at 6th in the table, 4 points off Frankfurt at 4th, 9 points off Bayern at 1st.
Long time fans will recognize this as not so bad. They will look back to 2015 (aka Klopp’s last season) when we fought to get to 7th; or maybe 2018 when Peter Bosz took us to the bottom of the league, and Peter Stöger brought us back to 4th.
In other competitions, we are well in the running with winnable draws. On February 8 we play VfL Bochum in the Pokal Round of 16. On February 15 we play Chelsea at home in the UCL Round of 16.
The Good New
We now head into the Rückrunde (plus a few) well rested, with injured players coming back into the mix, and a favorable schedule. Outside of the fact that Haller will probably not see action for a while, it appears that all players are back for Marbella.
Bayern is scrambling to shore up their defense with Lucas Hernández and Manuel Neuer out. Chelsea is in the middle of an historic losing streak and a massive injury crisis (Mount, Sterling, Fofana, James…).
No obvious meetup dates through January and February. Maybe we can sort something out for Chelsea on February 15. I have a feeling that will be a fun match.