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FC Köln 1-1 Borussia Dortmund: A Lackluster Performance

Back to the drawing board

Real Madrid CF v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Only four days after a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, Borussia Dortmund played to a much less satisfying 1-1 draw in Cologne. For most of the match, defeat felt inevitable, but yet again BVB found a way to pull a point back. Köln fans will undoubtedly feel frustrated that their team couldn’t close out the win, while BVB fans will feel frustrated that it took roughly 60 minutes for Dortmund to respond to Köln’s goal.

Thomas Tuchel’s formation was puzzling to say the least: he went with a back-3 of Piszczek, Sokratis, and Ginter, with Schmelzer and Durm playing as wing backs. Weigl and Castro were the lone midfielders, and Reus, Aubameyang, and Dembélé formed the attacking band.

The game started out pretty tense, with both sides coming close to scoring: in the 28th minute, Aubameyang actually put one behind Köln keeper Thomas Kessler, but was rightfully ruled offside. Despite some decent pressure from Borussia Dortmund, it was Köln who would nab the first goal off of a set piece, with Latvian youngster Artjoms Rudnevs flicking in a header off a great ball from Jonas Hector.

Thus began a long stretch of stoic Köln defending, and pure offensive ineptitude from Borussia Dortmund. To their credit, Köln were resolute in their structure: it would have been difficult for any club to penetrate their back-5, especially with a four man midfield shielding their front. Much of Dortmund’s attack ran through Ousmane Dembélé, who simply couldn’t find a way through Köln’s defenders. Aubameyang virtually disappeared from the match, mostly because Dortmund’s midfielders simply couldn’t find a way to get him on the ball.

The second half began, and it was more of the same for Borussia Dortmund. I’d cite some moments where they came close to scoring, but there really weren’t any of note. If anything, Köln came close to scoring, with star striker Anthony Modeste completely botching a fast break. He found himself virtually two-on-none with Rudnevs, but attempted to go around a charging Weidenfeller, rather than flicking a simple pass into the center. What would have been a simple tap in for the Latvian became a shot from Modeste that fluttered harmlessly off the side of the net. Give Weidenfeller credit for pushing Modeste wide, but Köln really should have put the match to bed.

Dortmund’s struggles continued, with Gonzalo Castro playing especially wastefully. It really has been a tough month or so for him. Unfortunately, he was switched off for Sebastian Rode, which changed... absolutely nothing.

Raphäel Guerreiro can’t return quickly enough.

Approaching full time, it really looked as if Köln were going to win all three points. It would have been a frustrating loss, especially considering the spectacular comeback against Real Madrid earlier in the week. However, Mr. Clutch, Marco Reus, pulled back a goal off an assist from late sub Adrian Ramos. I didn’t have the opportunity to post this in the match thread, so I’ll drop this here:

Full time dwindled out, and the match ended with Köln and Dortmund drawn. This actually breaks Köln’s winning streak at home against Dortmund, and ensures that Dortmund will remain in 6th place. Also, RB Leipzig finally lost (!), so Dortmund were able to pick up a point against the energy-drink upstarts.

For their next match, BVB will return to the Westfalenstadion to take on Hoffenheim. That match will be next Friday, at 2:30 EST.

Meme of the Match: