Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs. Cologne

Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs. Cologne

Opening your European campaign with a defeat is not exactly what you wish for. After all the hype and excitement surrounding the return of continental football, to open with a loss can be deflating. That is what happened to both Borussia Dortmund and Cologne this week, as both travelled to North London and both came away with their tails between their legs. Dortmund met Tottenham Hotspur at their temporary home of Wembley and were well beaten 3-1. Cologne went to the Emirates to face Arsenal and, despite taking the lead, were defeated by the same score. On Sunday, both teams face each other looking to get back on track at the others expense.

For Dortmund, they will face further pressure. Besides being the home side and favourites for the game, they have will face more scrutiny after dropping points against Freiburg. In a game they were largely expected to win, Peter Bosz’s side could only manage a 0-0 draw in the Black Forrest. The manager was left even more annoyed when Freiburg went a man down, heightening the criticism on his side and leaving them second in the Bundesliga with 7 points from 3 games. Cologne themselves faced criticism for their last Bundesliga result. They travelled to Augsburg and were soundly beaten 3-0 thanks to a hat-trick from Alfred Finnbogason. Cologne now find themselves rock bottom of the Bundesliga and without a point yet this season.

BVB’s long list of injuries was lengthened last week against Freiburg. Marcel Schmelzer was taken off with ankle ligament damage that will keep him out for a considerable amount of time. Marc Bartra was also forced off with a groin tweak which ruled him out of the midweek Champions League game, but he is expected to return against Hamburg next week at the earliest. Raphael Guerrero, Marco Reus, Sebastien Rode, Andre Schurrle and Erik Durm remain on the treatment table long term. Mario Gotze now joins the list of absentees after being taken off at Wembley after being struck in the jaw. Julian Weigl completed 45 minutes for the under-23’s this week but this game has come too soon for him. Some good news for Bosz is the return of Neven Subotic. He was ruled out of the clash with Spurs due to illness which he is now over.

Peter Stoger’s side have had a rotten start to the Bundesliga this season. His time didn’t get any better on Thursday night when Cologne fans came in for much criticism after they forced their way into the Emirates stadium and bought club memberships for tickets in the home end. Despite being given only 3000 tickets for the game, 20,000 made the trip to North London for the game. Stoger wasn’t pleased with the effect this had on his sides start to life in the Europa League. “The excitement was tarnished by the delayed kick off. I think the players managed their time well. Despite the overall positive experience, I think it took something out of it. For me personally, it was special to stand alongside Arsene Wenger. He is quite simply a coach with a tremendous success story.” When asked if events off the field played a part in his side’s downfall, he said, “It played a part. It would have been cool if those things did not take place. It is just a shame.” With 8000 away fans expected at the Westfalenstadion on Sunday, it seems Cologne will be taking equally fervent support to Dortmund.

Stoger has only two injuries to worry about ahead of the game. Jonas Hector will miss out after being taken off against Arsenal with a torn Syndesmosis Ligament, an injury which will rule him out for a while. Artjoms Rudnevs also misses out with illness. Apart from those two, Stoger has a full compliment to call upon as his team look to turn around their dreadful start to the season.

Both sides go into this game looking to put things right. Both have been on the end of disappointing results in their last two games, Cologne more so. The pressure will be on the away side hugely. Their beginning to this campaign has left the future of their manager up for debate. They need positive results and they need them quickly. As for Dortmund, they will want to put the defeat to Spurs behind them fast. That defeat may be more excusable than the goalless draw with Freiburg. Playing a team with 10 men is difficult but should always be overcome. Peter Bosz will be hoping his side can get back on track this Sunday.