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Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund Host Out-Of-Form Köln

Winless in two games, can Dortmund get a victory before the international break?

1. FC Köln v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The international break is fast approaching in the world of soccer, and Dortmund only have one Bundesliga match left before the players pack their bags and head home for two weeks. More importantly, however, is that the club has only one Bundesliga match before traveling to play Bayern Munich on April 1st. Despite the international break, momentum will be key and Borussia Dortmund will be looking to make amends for their two-game winless run.

Speaking of momentum, Köln have none of it. The Billygoats are winless in their last four games with goalless losses to VFL Bochum, VfB Stuttgart, and Wolfsburg. Since the league resumed in January, they have only won two games, a 7-1 win over Bremen and a 3-0 win over Frankfurt. The source of their plight comes from their lack of goals. David Selke and Steffan “The Tigginator” Tigges have failed to make up for the loss of Modeste. Their joint-top goalscorer and best player, Ellyes Skhiri, continues to impress despite his teams woes and will be one to watch. Additionally, all their usual starters should be healthy.

On the other side of the Rhine, Borussia Dortmund’s injury luck couldn’t be any different. Julian Brandt, Karim Adeyemi, Youssoufa Moukoko, and Gregor Kobel were all out against Schalke last weekend. Fortunately, it looks like all of these players have resumed training outside of Julian Brandt and they may return to the field tomorrow. Despite the discrepancy in results for both clubs this year—Köln having won just two while Dortmund have won all but two—this will still be a difficult match for BvB. Terzic’s men lost to Köln 3-2 earlier this season and will be looking to get revenge. The club remains in second place and is two points off top spot while Bayern Munich play Leverkusen on Sunday, a matchup they haven’t lost since 2019.

Player to Watch: Ellyes Skhiri

Saturday’s game will be a fascinating midfield matchup as Köln’s midfield trio of Dejan Ljubicic, rookie Eric Martel, and star player Ellyes Skhiri will be facing off against a Dortmund midfield that sees Emre Can suspended due to yellow car accumulation. The biggest threat; Skhiri. The Tunisian has 5 goals and 1 assist from midfield this year and, by all accounts, is the reason why FC Köln isn’t fighting for relegation right now. I mean, just look at his stats this year:

It will take a lot to close him down and I have a feeling we’ll see his former teammate, Salih Özcan, marking him pretty closely.

Predicted Lineup:

I’m optimistic we’ll see Kobel back in the lineup after just missing the game against Schalke. In defense, I think Terzic will reward Guerreiro’s effort against Schalke with a start at leftback. He could end up playing midfield but I wasn’t overly impressed with Ryerson and think he gets dropped. For the rest of the defense, I think we’ll see our three German internationals with Schlotterbeck, Süle, and Wolf. Midfield will be Özcan in to replace Can, Bellingham, and Reus at the front of the trio. Don’t ask me why I did the little squiggly thing in the graphic, I just thought it looked tactical. Up front, I think we’ll stick with Bynoe-Gittens, Malen, and Haller. Unfortunately, none of them have been overly impressive but we’re thin up top so they’ll all get the start.

Prediction: 4-0 Dortmund

I’m not too high on Köln. In fact, I think they’re quite awful. 4-0 Dortmund with a goal from Reus, two from Haller, and one from Dahoud off the bench.