Dortmund used a significantly better second half against FC Köln in their first match away from Signal Iduna Park in the 2019-20 season, winning 3-1 against Die Geißböcke at the RheinEnergieStadion. Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi, and Paco Alcácer were the goal-scorers on the night in the win.
The only change from last week’s starters was the reintroduction of Roman Bürki back between the sticks. Dortmund didn’t look great in the first half, getting pressed to hell all over the pitch and being unable to do much of anything when they were able to advance the ball into the midfield.
While Köln were starved of possession, they were able to make Dortmund pay for their flat start when, on a corner kick in the 29th minute, Dominick Drexler scored to put the hosts ahead. Ellyes Skhiri got his head on a corner kick, nodding it towards the far post for Drexler to head home. Nico Schulz was caught ball watching on the play, and allowed Drexler to sneak to the right place at the back-post. Dortmund couldn’t find the equalizer, and nearly fell in a 2-0 hole when Bürki had the ball stripped by Jhon Cördoba towards the end of the half, but luckily nothing came of it and the score remained 1-0 going into the break.
Things continued to go wrong for Dortmund in the second half as they were unable to break through the Köln defense. There was one moment around the 58th minute that Paco was able to get a good shot off inside the box, but it was saved with little trouble by Timo Horn.
Julian Brandt and Achraf Hakimi entered the pitch in the 62nd minute for Weigl and Schulz, respectively, and Dortmund was almost rewarded instantly when Brandt set up Reus off a beautiful pass for a chance on goal that was saved by Horn. You could tell that this was the moment where momentum began to shift in favor of Dortmund, who were wearing those hideous all-black kits.
Dortmund leveled in the 70th minute off a short corner taken by Alcácer to Jadon Sancho, and the young Englishman rocketed it into the far bottom corner. There was no one for miles around Jadon, giving him all the time in the world to pick his spot through the traffic.
With newfound energy BVB continued to find the go-ahead goal while Köln looked absolutely gassed down the stretch. Dortmund’s continued drive forward was rewarded in the 85th minute on a beautiful header by Hakimi. Brandt (that beautiful blonde again!) picked out Piszczek bombing down the right flank, and the Pole sent in a lofted cross into the box. Despite being only 5’11’” compared to Köln defender Kingsley Ehizibue (6’2”) Hakimi absolutely climbed the ladder to get to that ball and he headed it into the net with great power.
The game’s third and final goal came off a trademark Dortmund counterattack finished off by Alcácer. Köln actually had a chance to equalize late in extra-time off a corner kick, but couldn’t maintain possession. Hakimi latched onto a flicked clearance by Brandt, and he launched it upfield for Sancho with Paco and a far-away Reus in for support. Sancho drew the second defender and Horn to him, freeing up Alcácer for the dagger.
I know he didn’t get on the scoresheet, but Brandt is my Man of the Match. From the second he entered the field, the game completely changed. He wasn’t wasteful with the ball, kept possession, and he was excellent in offense and defense. Just look at these stats:
#KOEBVB @JulianBrandt— BVBstatistics (@BVBstat) August 23, 2019
2 key passes
3 possessions won
That’s a Man of the Match performance if you ask me. I can live with giving it to Sancho too for his goal and assist, but Brandt’s presence on the field was immense. I hope we see him in the starting line-up sooner rather than later.
In all, it was a very different match for most of the game. Dortmund couldn’t get through the Köln press, and when they did they were wasteful. They’ll have to be much better against the top Bundesliga sides.
Dortmund are back on the road next Saturday against Union Berlin. Hopefully we get a complete, 90-minute performance against the Bundesliga newcomers.