Borussia Dortmund started the busiest period of the season – 13 matches in six weeks – with a defeat. BVB lost 3-2 (0-1) away to 1. FC Cologne on Bundesliga Matchday 8.
Boris Rupert reporting from Cologne
A crowd of 50,000 spectators – including at least 8,000 Black & Yellows – witnessed a great game in which BVB had more chances (6-2) and could have led by more than the solitary goal scored by Julian Brandt in the 31st minute at the break. But Cologne always looked lively and turned the game around with two quick goals at the start of the second half, Florian Kainz (53) and Steffen Tigges (56) scoring to make it 2-1. Dejan Ljubicic’s strike to extend the advantage to 3-1 appeared to have put the match to bed (71), but BVB pulled another goal back through substitute Tom Rothe (78). Ultimately though, they deservedly lost this entertaining clash due to their poor chance conversion and defensive negligence.
Ninth versus second: 1. FC Cologne had only lost one match – but by the same token had only managed two wins (plus four draws), while BVB had emerged victorious in three of their previous four league games. They did not win a single game in Cologne from 1967 to 1990 but had since recorded twice as many wins (12) as defeats (five) across their 23 away games on the Rhine.
Jude Bellingham became probably the youngest BVB captain in the club’s history, wearing the armband at the age of 19 years, three months and two days. “We don’t know – but he’s old enough in any case,” Edin Terzic told Sky. Reus (ankle ligament injury) was not the only senior player missing, with Hummels also out with illness. In addition, Bynoe-Gittens, Dahoud (both shoulder operations), Haller (tumour diagnosis), Kobel (fitness training), Morey (knee operation), Reyna (strain) and Wolf (circulation problems) were unavailable. Süle and Adeyemi were the new faces in the team compared to the Schalke game 14 days ago.
Cologne took an attacking approach and largely forewent a second holding midfielder; instead, Ljubicic pushed forward into the attacking midfield three, with Maina frequently alongside Tigges in attack. That made for a 4-1-2-3 for the Billy Goats, who pressed high with up to five players from the start, while BVB opted for a 4-2-3-1 and looked to beat the pressing with quick, low passes.
The match & analysis:
It was an intensive match from the off, played on a boggy pitch following heavy rainfall. Cologne created their first chance early on, but Schlotterbeck twice cleared from Ljubicic, first with his foot and then with his head (3). BVB also quickly bypassed the midfield after winning the ball back and got into several promising positions in and around the box but lacked precision on the final ball. The first dangerous chances fell to Malen in the 18th and 27th minutes: the Dutchman first had a powerful shot from a tight angle comfortably saved by Schwäbe, then went clean through on the goalkeeper – after Bellingham had won the ball back and Adeyemi had played him in – but rushed his shot from 15 metres. At the other end, Kainz’s low strike flew wide of the right post (30).
But Brandt went one better with exactly half an hour on the clock. Following a possession turnover by Meunier and a move that involved Adeyemi and Bellingham, he got his head up in the box – unlike Malen and Kainz before him – gauged Schwäbe’s position after controlling the ball left of centre and poked a low shot in the bottom corner for 1-0. BVB could have quickly extended their advantage, but Schwäbe turned Adeyemi’s curler behind for a corner (32). The set-piece was headed straight into the path of Adeyemi, whose strike would have been a “Goal of the Month” contender had Schwäbe not kept it out with a spectacular save (33). Malen then failed to get the better of the excellent Cologne shot-stopper at the third attempt after being teed up by the impressive Meunier (40).
Cologne came racing out of the blocks after the break. Duda’s shot was blocked, and Maina’s subsequent attempt lacked the power to trouble Meyer (47). But then BVB failed to track Hector on the left flank, and he picked out the unmarked Maina, whose low cutback into the penalty area was toe-poked over the goal-line by Kainz to make it 1-1 (53). Barely three minutes later, the turnaround was complete: Kainz played in the corner and Tigges headed it into the BVB net at the near post to make it 2-1.
BVB then had Cologne pinned back in their own box but were hit twice on the counter. Dietz fired the first wide of the post (69), but Ljubicic converted the second with a curling effort to make it 3-1 (71). Now carried by their supporters and a wave of euphoria, Cologne threatened to score a fourth. But BVB, who switched to a 4-4-2 following Moukoko’s introduction (70), came back once again. Hazard first squandered a golden chance to make it 3-2 with the goal at his mercy following Meunier’s cross (76), before Rothe’s deflected cross found the net shortly afterwards (78).
Cologne, who had put in a real shift, looked exhausted and already had five new faces on the field. It was an open exchange in the final stages. Meyer made a strong save to deny Skhiri (82) and BVB threw everything forward, but Cologne held on to win 3-2.
Up next is the third match of the UEFA Champions League group stages on Wednesday: BVB will be away to Sevilla. Kick-off is at 21:00 CET. They will then take on Bayern Munich at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK next Saturday (18:30 CET).