World news – Game preview: Borussia Dortmund moves to Bottom-Dwellers FC Köln


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After eight games in 28 days, followed by the first week without a midweek meeting since the end of February, Borussia Dortmund is rested in travel to the cathedral city to start the international break on a good note.

The form contrast between BVB and FC Köln could not be more drastic at the moment. While BVB has been in full swing with five wins in the last seven games, the Billy Goats have also been in trouble. Their last win came over a month ago against Borussia Mönchengladbach. In the last five games in Cologne they have lost four and drawn once. While they are in 14th place in the table, they are far from being safe from relegation. They hobble into this game with 22 points, one point above the relegation playoff spot that Hertha BSC currently holds.

In contrast to Hertha, Cologne did not come into the season with ambitions in the Champions League. Their goal was simply to avoid relegation. So the game should be very similar to the previous game this season. Cologne’s top scorer is Elvis Rexhbeçaj, who comes into play tomorrow with a total of five goals this season. With a goal difference of -21 it would be reasonable to expect Cologne to park the bus and hope for a point. Given the way things have played out this season at the bottom of the table, a draw would be a welcome outcome for the Billy Goats and could go a long way in securing their place in the top division for another season .

The black and yellow ones will do without Jaden Sancho and Mateu Morey, who have already been excluded because of muscle injuries. They will likely do without Raphaël Guerreiro and Marco Reus, who, despite Sebastian Kehl’s comments after the Hertha match, should take a break after the vicious duel he suffered. Reus’ ankle / Achilles tendon could benefit from the additional break in the international break. On the positive side, Manuel Akanji trained with the first team and is expected to return to the day’s squad. Akanji’s return couldn’t be more perfect. Köln have a lackluster attack whose best scoring chances this season have come from set pieces. A lesson that BVB learned all too well at the beginning of this year. Having an organized backline is the key to winning.

I would expect a decent rotation for this match. Maybe we’ll see Reinier or Youssoufa Moukoko start instead of Marco Reus. While Moukoko gets off the bench more effectively, I’d love to see what Reinier can do with a full 90 minutes. This could also be the perfect game to start Lukasz Piszczek. Cologne doesn’t have a broken neck to threaten him and his lead in set pieces could be on time. If Piszczek doesn’t start instead of Morey, I would expect to see Emre Can again in a moment. Edin Terzic seems to be a huge fan of BVB’s Swiss Army Knife and I would expect him to find a place for Can when Akanji returns to central defense.

I also expect Mahmoud Dahoud to start in midfield alongside Jude Bellingham and Julian Brandt. With Cologne likely to park the bus, this doesn’t seem like a match where Thomas Delaney’s skills are required from the start. If BVB opens a decent lead, Terzic can use it for Brandt to secure victory. The starting line-up is rounded off with Erling Haaland and Thorgan Hazard. As with Brandt, I would expect Tigges and Reyna to take the strain off their legs if BVB manages to build up a considerable lead.

Cologne has not yet decided on a standard formation this year, which makes predicting the possible formation much more difficult. Borrower Marous Wolf from Dortmund is a prime example of Cologne’s constantly changing line-up. Wolf has started games all over the field, including as a striker. This shows you how unpredictable your lineup can be. We may not know what formation Köln will come out in but we can be sure that they will sit back and relax in a tight, compact block of defense.

I expect BVB to roll the Billy Goats with steam and win by three goals. Cologne couldn’t train on Wednesday due to a Covid-19 horror before returning to team activities on Thursday. The lack of preparation combined with fears of a COVID-19 horror could be detrimental to Cologne’s ability to focus on Saturday’s game. If the Billy Goats come out sleepwalking, we may see another Erling Haaland master class. After all, he often makes even the most focused defenders look silly. Imagine what he could do with a backline that isn’t fully on.

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