Köln vs Borussia Dortmund – Friday, February 2, 19:30GMT/20:30CET – RheinEnergyStadion, Cologne, Germany.
Peter Stöger’s return to the RheinEnergyStadion is highly anticipated in Germany. Before replacing Peter Bosz, this winter Stöger coached Köln for four and a half years and last season guided the club back to European competition for the first time in 25-years. But the start to the Bundesliga season was a disaster for the Billy Goats, and after just three draws in the first 14 games, Köln fired the popular Austrian coach.
Stöger, however, did not have to wait long for a new job taking over from Bosz just a few days later. It is perhaps a curious case that one of Germany’s biggest clubs would sign a coach from a team that are rock bottom in the Bundesliga standings. Dortmund, however, signed Stöger based on what he had achieved over the full four and a half years in Cologne. Looking back his reign in the city on the Rhine was remarkable, guiding the club back to the Bundesliga Stöger re-established not only the club in the top flight but also build a foundation that should help the Billy Goats long-term even if they are relegated at the end of the season.
Whether Köln will be relegated at the end of the season, however, is no longer that clear. New head coach Stefan Ruthenbeck has recorded three wins and a draw since taking over the club on matchday 15 and has narrowed the gap to the relegation playoff spot to just four points. There is once again hope in Domstadt that the Billy Goats could pull off a miracle and fight off relegation after all. But to do so they will have to continue collecting points, and while a 1-1 draw on matchday 20 against Augsburg was no disaster, it certainly could swing momentum the other way should Köln fail to collect points against Dortmund on Friday night.
It is perhaps somewhat ironic that under previous head coach Peter Stöger Köln have a positive record against the Yellow and Black winning two out of seven games, drawing four and losing only once. That only defeat came on matchday 4 of this season, which ended in a brutal 5-0 beating with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Maximilian Philipp both scoring two goals. Köln will have to fear neither on Friday, however, as Aubameyang has completed his move to Arsenal and Philipp is still out with a knee injury he sustained earlier this season.
Speaking of Aubameyang. The forward and his departure to England will most certainly be a significant discussion point on Friday. It has been widely understood that parts of the team have grown tired of the antics of the Gabonese forward and that Dortmund, in the end, were more than happy to offload the forward. With Aubameyang gone Dortmund are losing their most prolific forward, but also a potential trouble spot in the dressing room. With Aubameyang gone, however, the team will now have to deliver as there is no more hiding behind the “chaos” that was created by all the talk surrounding the forward’s transfer to Arsenal.
Dortmund’s players will, therefore, be under pressure to end the three games without a win streak and collect all three points on Friday night. Köln in the meantime are under pressure too. Although a defeat would not mean relegation, not collecting the three points would be a big setback in the relegation fight. But given Köln’s recent run of form and Dortmund’s inability to score goals—new signing Michy Batshuayi is expected to start, but will have to find chemistry with his teammates first—recently Köln must feel positive about their chances to collect one or maybe all three points in this game.
Köln vs Borussia Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Simon Terodde #9 – 1.FC Köln
Simon Terodde was signed from VfB Stuttgart this winter to end Köln’s goalscoring drought, and the 29-year-old did just that. Scoring three goals in his first three games for the Billy Goats Terodde is the beacon of hope Köln needed in the relegation battle. A pure goalscorer Terodde not only provides goals, but also the grit of 187 games in the Bundesliga 2, where he scored 89 goals. A hard-working striker Terodde will now do everything in his power to keep Köln in the Bundesliga.
Michy Batshuayi #44 – Borussia Dortmund
The striker sweepstakes ended with Borussia Dortmund selling Aubameyang to Arsenal, who in turn sold Olivier Giroud to Chelsea, which paved the way for Dortmund to sign 24-year-old Belgium striker Batshuayi. Signed on Wednesday on a loan deal, which depending on sources may or may not include an option to buy, the forward is expected to start right away for Borussia Dortmund.
Köln vs Borussia Dortmund – Match Stats
- While Peter Stöger failed to win all 14 games with Köln this season, he has managed to stay undefeated with Dortmund in his first five games with his new club.
- Shinji Kagawa has featured in all five games managed by Stöger and has scored three times—as often as in the 34 previous games.
- Köln’s record at home against Dortmund is W21 D10 L11.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Köln vs Borussia Dortmund 2-1
Köln vs Borussia Dortmund – Lineups
T.Horn – Sørensen, Jorge Meré, Heintz, Hector – Höger, Özcan – Clemens, Jojić – Zoller, Terodde
Head Coach: Stefan Ruthenbeck
Bürki – Piszczek, Sokratis, Akanji, Guerreiro – Götze, Weigl, Kagawa – Pulisic, Batshuayi, Sancho
Head Coach: Peter Stöger
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.