The Champions League final against domestic rival Bayern Munich at Wembley on May 25, 2013 didn't quite go to plan, but for a team that had won back-to-back German Bundesliga titles against the odds in the previous two seasons, there was still plenty to smile about.
"We will come back, maybe not to Wembley, but we will try to come back to another final," Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp said after the final whistle
Fast-forward to February 2015, and the club with such lofty ambitions finds itself bottom of a Bundesliga table it had previously been used to ruling.
Seven of the players who graced the Wembley turf for Dortmund two seasons ago took to the field Wednesday against Augsburg -- a game that would prove to be the nadir of a so far disastrous campaign.
Klopp's men slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home to a side reduced to 10 men, with further salt rubbed into the wound by the fact that Augsburg had never before beaten Dortmund in its history.
The latest defeat proved to be the tipping point, with fans at the Westfalenstadion finally venting their anger and frustrations after having stayed patient through previous setbacks.
So much so that, after the match, a couple of Dortmund players were moved to publicly apologize to the supporters, with Mats Hummels speaking to them through the perimeter fence.
Goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller went even further, scaling the fence to ensure a more intimate dialogue with the unhappy Dortmund fans.
Confidence has drained away and, with every passing defeat against the underdogs of Hertha Berlin, Cologne and Mainz, Dortmund's next win seems ever harder to secure.
"There's no doubt that nerves play a part in our situation," Klopp told the Dortmund website after Wednesday's defeat. "We need to bring them under control."
A club that finished the 2011-12 season as champion with just three losses to its name has now suffered 11 defeats from 19 games this term, with relegation from Germany's top flight for the first time since 1972 a real possibility.
What makes Dortmund's decline even more galling is the ceding of dominance to Bayern, which has made a habit of poaching of its star players -- notably Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski.
A talented team
Admittedly, Dortmund have struggled with injuries this season, and Wednesday's defeat by Augsburg brought further bad news on that front after Kevin Grosskreutz suffered a torn thigh muscle, ruling him out for the next six weeks.
Even so, a team still boasting world-class talent such as Marco Reus and Hummels -- reported targets for some of the game's biggest clubs -- should be sitting above the majority of teams in its division.
"We're always chasing games," bemoaned Hummels after the Augsburg setback. "What's missing is us taking the lead so that we can then sit back and play on the counter. We're all aware that we've got to fight in the next 15 games."
Surely Dortmund are too good to go down?
One only needs to take a quick glance at the Champions League to notice that on its day, the club can still prove to be a match for Europe's best.
Dortmund remains in Europe's premier competition after topping a group also including Arsenal, Galatasaray and Anderlecht, with a 2-0 victory against the Gunners in September showcasing the side at its most fearsome.
Without the pressures and trappings of the Bundesliga, Dortmund is a different beast altogether.
Italian champion Juventus awaits in the last 16, and you would not bet against Dortmund progressing to the quarterfinals.
The same cannot be said of its league clash with Freiburg Saturday.
But CAN Dortmund go down?
Part of the problem is often acknowledging that there is, indeed, a problem. Klopp, in his own mild-mannered way, has refused to hit the panic button and has been under little pressure from the German media, while the club's board has yet to publicly question the coach.
The Dortmund fans, too, known as some of the most passionate in the world, have continued to voice their support.
"There are several stadiums with a great atmosphere in the world, but only a few who go wild like [Dortmund's] when you are [struggling]," Klopp said of the club's fans in December
That was until Augsburg.
, meanwhile, have suggested that Dortmund will give Klopp -- who to some, given the resources at his disposal, has taken the club as far as he can -- until the end of the month to offer up signs of survival.
Realization has struck that Dortmund's quality alone will not be enough to turn things around and something has to change soon, with the one-month winter break failing to turn around its fortunes.
If it doesn't, the Dortmund team widely considered too good to go down may end up doing just that.