Manuel Veth –
Köln vs Dortmund – Friday, August 23, 19:30BST/20:30CEST – RheinEnergieStadion, Dortmund, Germany
It was the most unnecessary relegation in Bundesliga history back in 2017/18. 1.FC Köln had reached the Europa League the season before and were on their best way to become an established Bundesliga side but a series of poor results meant the rot quickly set in and in the end the club was needlessly relegated.
A relegation, however, that was quickly fixed last season. Although Köln were not always consistent, promotion for the Billy Goats was never really in doubt, even if they were forced to fire head coach Markus Anfang with just a few games left to go.
The biggest reason for Köln’s triumph in Bundesliga 2? On top of national team players, Timo Horn and Jonas Hector Köln also had the most dangerous forward line in Simon Terodde, Jhon Cordoba and in the second half of the season returnee Anthony Modeste.
Now back in the Bundesliga, there is a different set of expectations and caliber of opponents. Against Wolfsburg, Köln had just three chances throughout the match, not enough to win the game and in the end, the Wolves triumphed over the Billy Goat in the 2-1 victory for Wolfsburg.
Against Dortmund striker, Jhon Cordoba (more on him below) will be back in the squad, however, and with him Köln head coach Achim Beierlorzer is hoping for more effectiveness in the attack. “We can only be successful in the collective,” Beierlorzer quickly added about the game.
There is no doubt that Borussia Dortmund, who were fantastic on matchday 1 against Augsburg will be a difficult opponent on Friday night. The Black and Yellows made the most out of Bayern München stumbling in their home opener against Hertha Berlin and collected all three points in what was a sensational 5-1 victory over Augsburg.
On matchday 2 it will be up to Dortmund to set the pace in what will be without a doubt a fascinating title race this season. In fact, it will be a great opportunity to put significant pressure on Bayern, who face Schalke on Saturday in the Topspiel. Pressure that Dortmund should be able to put on Bayern given that they are facing a promoted side still trying to find their way back into the Bundesliga.
Köln vs Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Jhon Cordoba #15 – 1.FC Köln
Jhon Cordoba missed matchday 1 against Wolfsburg after a red card suspension that carried over from last season. Without the Colombian striker Köln struggled against Wolfsburg. The 26-year-old made the most out of Köln’s relegation to Bundesliga 2 establishing himself as the club’s most important forward. “He is the fastest player in our transition game,” Beierlorzer said to the media this week. “It is likely that he will play a role on Friday,” the Köln head coach added. The Colombian scored 20 goals and three assists for Köln last season and was in many ways crucial for the club’s quick return to the Bundesliga.
Manuel Akanji #16 – Borussia Dortmund
Trying to keep up with Jhon Cordoba will be Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji. The Swiss national team defender is one of the fastest Bundesliga players, both with his feet but also with his head. A brilliant mathematician Akanji will be a key player next to Mats Hummels in defence this season. “[Akanji] is technically very gifted player,” the head of Borussia Dortmund’s licensing department Sebastian Kehl said this week. “He has the ability to play the ball vertically into the midfield or to dribble it into the area,” Kehl added. A complete defender, who can aid Hummels should Köln put him under the pressure in the early goings-on Friday.
Köln vs Dortmund – Match Stats
- 1.FC Köln could not win the last five matches against Dortmund, three draws were followed by two defeats.
- Mario Götze has won all six of his games against Köln, four with Dortumd (two assists) and two with Bayern München (one goal one assist).
- Köln’s home record against Dortmund: W21 D10 L12.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Köln vs Dortmund – 0-3
Köln vs Dortmund – Lineups
Horn – Ehizibue, Jorge Meré, Czichos, Hector – Verstraete, Skhiri – Schindler, Kainz – Cordoba, Modeste
Head Coach: Achim Beierlorzer
Bürki – Piszczek, Akanji, Hummels, Schulz – Weigl, Witsel – Sancho, Reus, Hazard – Paco Alcacer
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.