Borussia Dortmund followed up their 5-1 victory over FC Augsburg on the opening day of the Bundesliga season with a second win in as many matches on Friday evening. The Black & Yellows kept up their 100 percent start by beating 1. FC Cologne 3-1 (0-1) on Matchday 2.
Boris Rupert and Timo Lammert
reporting from Cologne
The 50,000 spectators at a sold-out and atmospheric Rhein-Energie-Stadion in Cologne-Mungersdorf saw a dominant start from the hosts, who took a not undeserved lead when Drexler headed home on the 29-minute mark. But BVB fought back and, thanks to several strokes of genius, came from behind to win 3-1 and claim a valuable three points as Jadon Sancho (70), Achraf Hakimi (86) and Paco Alcácer (90+4) all scored late on.
Dortmund had recorded more than twice as many victories (11) than defeats (five) in their 20 previous visits to Mungersdorf. While the Black & Yellows had only lost one of their last five Bundesliga matches on the road, the Billy Goats had failed to win any of their final three games in front of their own supporters in the 2. Bundesliga.
Aside from Morey, who has a shoulder injury, Lucien Favre had a full squad at his disposal. The head coach handed Bürki, who replaced Hitz, a first start of the season but that was the only change to the team that played the opening games in league and cup.
Cologne, who took to the field in a 4-1-2-3 formation, played a high-pressing game that involved five players entering the opposition half to win the ball back. Even after switching to a 3-3-4 in possession, with Witsel slotting between the two centre-backs, Dortmund were denied any opportunity to get themselves into dangerous areas by their compact hosts. Cologne's game was to get the ball directly to their strikers, which BVB struggled to do in the opening half.
The match & analysis:
It was an open Bundesliga encounter in the first few minutes as, while BVB dominated possession, Cologne were not content to defend deeply in their own half. Coach Achim Beierlorzer's charges showed a strong physical presence when challenging for the ball and restricted the space that BVB had to build the play from the back. The Black & Yellows had their first half-chance to score with almost a quarter of an hour on the clock when Jadon Sancho picked out Mats Hummels from a 14th-minute corner, but the ball came off the centre-back's shoulder and sailed over the Cologne goal. At the other end, Jhon Cordoba came close to converting a Modeste cross three minutes later.
After 21 minutes, Thorgan Hazard cut inside from the left flank and was fouled as he tried to power through. Marco Reus picked up the ball to take the ensuing free-kick, forcing Timo Horn in the Cologne goal into his first save with a well-struck effort.
The hosts enjoyed their best spell midway through the first period and eventually beat Roman Bürki for the first time on the half-hour mark from a corner-kick that was preceded by a triple chance for Jhon Cordoba and Anthony Modeste. The ball was flicked on towards the back post, where an unmarked Dominick Drexler headed home from close range to put Cologne 1-0 ahead with his first-ever Bundesliga goal. You could hardly say the lead was undeserved at that stage of the match, as the hosts had delivered a lively and committed display, while the Black & Yellows were lacking precision going forward and had not had a shot on goal for several minutes.
Borussia Dortmund continued to dominate the ball after falling behind, but did so in areas that posed little threat to Cologne, who remained defensively compact and largely kept their opponents at bay. It was not until the 42nd minute when Lukasz Piszczek picked out a gap in the Cologne rearguard and drove forward towards the byline, though his driven cross into the box did not find a team-mate.
Despite dominating the possession, passing and tackling stats, BVB found themselves 1-0 down at the half-time interval and there was initially little shift in the balance of play in the second half. To the delight of most of the 50,000 fans in the stadium, BVB made few inroads in attack as Cologne defended solidly and posed a continued threat going forward. It was not until the 55th minute that the visitors had their first shot since that Reus free-kick in the first half, but Paco Alcácer was denied by Timo Horn from close range after being set up by Jadon Sancho.
BVB coach Lucien Favre made a double substitution on the hour-mark, introducing Achraf Hakimi and Julian Brandt in place of Nico Schulz and Julian Weigl. The Germany international in particular slotted seamlessly into the team and picked out Marco Reus with a long pass just seconds after coming off the bench. But the captain was denied by the fine form of Cologne custodian Horn and, with the goal gaping, Rafael Czichos managed to clear the loose ball and preserve the home side's slender lead.
Jadon Sancho's influence on the game was steadily growing and, with 20 minutes remaining, he won a corner with a shot that was deflected behind. Hazard played it short to the Englishman, who from an unmarked position in the Cologne box drilled an unstoppable left-footed effort past Horn and into the bottom corner.
The Billy Goats were beginning to tire and only rarely forayed forward into the opposition half, with Dortmund confounding their hosts with a relentless stream of positional and directional switches. Yet chances were few and far between after the equaliser.
The third and final substitution followed with seven minutes to go, as Jacob Bruun Larsen replaced Hazard on the left flank. This final throw of the dice seemed to serve as a catalyst for a BVB barrage in the closing stages, and the visitors produced their best attack of the match in the 86th minute. Lukasz Piszczek was played in down the right side and he floated a ball across the face of goal towards Hakimi at the back post. The Morocco international decisively won the aerial battle and powered a header into the back of the net to give his side a deserved 2-1 lead.
BVB had finally got their reward for an improved second-half performance in which a lot of ground had been covered and positional play had been used to good effect. Cologne were dead on their feet by this point and offered little resistance in the closing minutes, allowing Paco Alcácer to round off a Jadon Sancho counter with the third goal of the evening. The Spain international was presented with an empty net from seven metres out and fired home to wrap up a second win in as many matches.
BVB face another away trip to another of the promoted sides on Matchday 3: Union Berlin will be the opponents at the "Alte Försterei" a week on Saturday (18:30 CET).