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Key Matchups: 1.FC Köln vs Borussia Dortmund

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A trip to the Domstadt

1. FC Koeln v Hamburger SV - Bundesliga Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Bongarts/Getty Images

After securing the first place in the Champions League group stage with a draw in the Santiago Bernabeu it is back to business for the black and yellows. A difficult away game in Cologne awaits. The Geißböcke are playing a surprisingly strong season which is build upon on a stout defense and a striker that is having the season of his lifetime. It will we tough but Tuchel & Co. will have to find a way to get the three points to stay in the title race.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Prevent mistakes in the build up

This has been a problem all season and it was one again against Real Madrid. Cologne will surely sit back and go for it on the counter attack. Weigl and Castro (or maybe Guerreiro if he's healthy) need to do a better job to protect the ball or Cologne will have a short field on their way to Roman Weidenfeller.

KEY TO THE GAME: Be patient

Peter Stöger has been the mastermind behind one of the best defenses in the league. The 5-man backline is difficult to overcome and the midfield is also stocked with defensive-minded players rather than creative ones. Dortmund won't get many chances against Cologne and if they do they absolutely have to convert. The key will be to be patient and stick to the gameplan even if it might take a while before they break through the defense.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Anthony Modeste

The Frenchman has been one of the best players in the Bundesliga this season. The 27-year old has scored 12 goals in 13 games so far and he has shown no sign of slowing down. He can score in every way possible which makes him difficult to defend, it might be a good idea to man mark him and Sokratis is just the man to do it.

Modeste is still doubtful for the game tomorrow, he picked up a knock and the decision if he'll play will be taken on Saturday morning.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

  • Formation: 4-3-3
  • Goalkeeper: Thomas Kessler
  • Defenders: Konstantin Rausch, Frederik Sörensen, Mergim Mavraj, Dominique Heintz, Pawel Olkowski
  • Midfielders: Marco Höger, Jonas Hector, Milos Jojic
  • Forwards: Yuya Osako, Anthony Modeste

PREDICTION: 2-0 Dortmund

Cologne is a tough opponent but they have some injury concerns and Dortmund is improving in recent weeks. If Reus and Aubameyang can continue their recent run of excellent performances then there should be no doubt about which team will take the three points.