The busy period of the first half-season is about to begin: Borussia Dortmund's visit to 1. FC Cologne on Saturday (1/10) at 15:30 CET will be the first of 13 games they play over a 42-day period leading up to the World Cup break.

"We knew the fixture list would be very tight this year due to the World Cup. In the first weeks of pre-season, we wanted to lay the foundations and get ourselves in a good position for precisely this period," explained BVB coach Edin Terzic. His players who remained in Dortmund used the international break to recharge their batteries for the coming weeks. "We'll always try to reduce the strain and start the regeneration immediately. Rotation will consistently be a topic over the next weeks," said the BVB coach.

In addition to the long-term injury absentees Sebastien Haller, Mo Dahoud, Mateu Morey and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, the trio of Gregor Kobel, Gio Reyna and Marco Reus will miss the 1. FC Cologne match. Dortmund's No. 1 could return to his regular position between the sticks next week but will continue to be represented by Alex Meyer on the banks of the Rhine. Reyna sustained a muscle strain while playing for the USA in an international fixture and is expected to be ruled out for a period of 7-10 days. "We hope that he is available to play following the Sevilla game on Wednesday," Terzic commented. However, the coach had good news about his captain, who injured himself in the derby: "In Marco Reus' case, the injury is fortunately not as bad as first feared. We hope that he will be able to slow easy back into team training after the weekend." 

All the other players are available – including Julian Brandt, Youssoufa Moukoko and Thorgan Hazard, who returned from international duty prematurely. They resumed light training on their return to Dortmund and are set to return to the training pitch with their team-mates on Thursday and Friday. "We'll decide tomorrow whom we can take to Cologne. But we're confident," said Terzic. 

Malen & Adeyemi fit again

Salih Özcan is also hoping to earn himself a place in the matchday squad and return to his hometown. The midfielder moved to the Ruhr region from 1. FC Cologne in the summer but has endured an ongoing battle with a foot problem and was not able to link up with the Turkish national team as a result. Terzic: "We needed to get him some rest. He has been back in light individual training since Wednesday." The next step will be to return to team training. According to the BVB boss, Donyell Malen and Karim Adeyemi are already a step further along in their return from injury. "Both are now making a really good impression. They do us good, because they bring a completely different weapon to our game with their pace."

Whether that will be the case in Cologne remains to be seen. Cologne currently occupy ninth spot in the table and have picked up four of their 10 points in this Bundesliga campaign from draws, while there have been two wins too. The Billy Goats lead their UEFA Conference League group after two matches. "Steffen Baumgart has stabilised the team. He repeatedly manages to make players better and create a greater self-belief. That's their biggest strength," said Terzic of the opposition. "They're very courageous and take big risks. They're dangerous from set-pieces and have a great deal of possession. It's going to be a tough task." 

But the BVB coach also pointed to the "repeatedly good performances" from his team over the course of recent weeks and explained: "I'm sure that we'll produce another good performance on Saturday. And then we'll have a big chance to win the match." The first of 13 games in 42 days.
Christina Reinke

BVB TV by 1&1: The press conference prior to the match against Cologne