Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs. FC Koln
Borussia Dortmund will be aiming to return to winning ways in the Bundesliga when they host FC Koln on Saturday evening.
The visitors, meanwhile, have collected only one point from their last four matches, with Steffen Baumgart’s side only seven points clear of relegation danger.
At the other end of the table, Dortmund ceded ground to their title rivals Bayern Munich last weekend, with Edin Terzic’s side held 2-2 away to Schalke 04 in the Revierderby.
Schalke twice came from behind to equalise after defenders Nico Schlotterbeck and Raphael Guerreiro had provided the visitors with the lead, with Kenan Karaman’s strike 11 minutes from time providing the hosts with a crucial point to delight the home fans in attendance at Veltins-Arena.
Having been knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea four days prior, dropping two points against a relegation-threatened side – and their fiercest rivals – capped a disappointing week for BVB, who had returned from the World Cup in some style by winning 10 consecutive matches in all competitions.
Terzic will be desperate to get back on track against Koln this weekend, especially with Bayern not playing until Sunday against Bayer Leverkusen, handing Die Schwarzgelben an opportunity to move one point clear at the summit on Saturday evening.
With Der Klassiker taking place at Allianz Arena in the first match back after the imminent international break, it could well prove to be a crucial couple of gameweeks in terms of shaping the Bundesliga’s title picture.
Koln, meanwhile, have hit a sizable road block in their campaign, with Baumgart’s side failing to score in six of their last seven matches after falling to a 2-0 defeat at home to VfL Bochum last time out.
Their opponents had been beaten in 11 of their 12 away games in the Bundesliga this season prior to arriving in Cologne, making The Billy Goats’ defeat all the more surprising and disappointing in equal measure.
Any hopes that Baumgart and his players may have had in terms of replicating last season’s seventh-placed finish and qualifying for Europe once again have now all but evaporated, with them instead beginning to look nervously over their shoulders at the bottom three.
However, a seven-point gap with only 10 matches remaining represents a healthy one, especially with some important players set to return from injury after the international break, as well as a winnable run of fixtures for Koln to get their teeth stuck into throughout April.
Of course, there is no reason why they can not return from Dortmund with a positive result this weekend, even if the two teams’ respective recent form books could barely be any more contrasting.
Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga form:
Borussia Dortmund form (all competitions):
FC Koln Bundesliga form:
We say: Borussia Dortmund 2-1 FC Koln
With both teams missing several key players due to injury, we do not expect either side to be at their best on Saturday, especially having suffered disappointing results last weekend.
However, Dortmund should be able to gain a marginal victory to ensure that they move one point above Bayern prior to their fixture against Leverkusen on Sunday, with Koln needing to pick themselves up after the international break.