Dortmund bounced back in style after their disappointing outing in the Champions League midweek in one of the season’s most sided matches. Köln did not manage their first shot on goal until the 86th minute after they were already down five goals, telling of the voracious and inspired performance from Klopp’s men. Dortmund’s vigorous performance was matched by a flat and negligent Köln who continue to live up to their Jekyll and Hyde moniker in the league.
Only two changes were made to the Dortmund line up that lost against Olympiakos on Wednesday. The suspended Perisic was replaced by Grosskreutz and captain Kehl started ahead of Gündogan. Solbakken started Matuschyk in place of the injured Brecko. The most notable tactical change was the repositioning of Riether from central midfield to his familiar right back position.
Dortmund reminiscent of last season
After the great season Dortmund had last year parallels were bound to be drawn going into the new campaign and so far they have failed to live up to or match their title winning form. Profligate with their chances and uncharacteristically poor in midfield, the side that won so convincingly last year has struggled to put all the pieces together. Against Köln however Dortmund finally played to their potential and played the energetic and irrepressible style of football they became known for last year.
From kickoff, Dortmund were the more vibrant and ebullient side, pressing intensely and getting forward in numbers. So confident and enterprising were Klopp’s men that Hummels played as an auxiliary attacking midfielder throughout the match. Already inclined to step out of defense, Hummels took that habit to even greater heights against Köln. The defender dashed forward on 7 minutes and scooped the ball over Köln’s defense to Grosskreutz who beat the offside trap and laid the ball up to an open Kagawa. The initial drizzle then turned into torrential downpours. Long balls out of the back to either the right or left and waiting for midfield runners was the most common play from the defending champions. Götze was particularly busy on the right and almost set up Kehl for the second on 15 minutes were it not for the prescient Rensing.
The inevitable happened on 25 minutes after Götze dribbled his way into the box from the right. His pass was scrambled but was not properly cleared by Köln and it fell to the feet of Bender who saw Schmelzer storming forward and set the left back up to score his first ever Bundesliga goal. Köln could not keep possession and continued to turn the ball over to Dortmund in precarious positions and Piszczek nearly made them pay for it with a long distance shot on the half hour mark. Dortmund were brimming with confidence and everyone was involved in their attacks. Next up, Piszczek threaded a ball through to Bender who was ghosting into the box. The defensive midfielder glanced up to see Lewandowski make his run and set the Polish striker up for the third.
Klopp now had the luxury of resting some players and replaced Götze with Blaszczykowski at halftime Solbakken brought on Roshi and Clemens for Peszko and Chihi but despite the changes, the second half played out much like the first. A long ball over the top again by Hummels and some nifty combination play by Blaszcykowski and Grosskreutz set up Lewandowski for his second of the game. The game was beyond reach now for Köln for Dortmund had one more in store. A long ball out of the back by Hummels found Blasczykowski on the right and the polish winger picked out Kehl’s burst into the box to round off the match.
Köln’s biggest problem was their inability to hold on to the ball for extended periods of time. As soon as they won possession they offered it right back to Dortmund. Left back Eichner in particular had a match to forget. The former Hoffenheim and Karlsruhe player gave the ball away an incredible 26 times, more than the rest of Köln’s backline combined. Dortmund did concentrate a bulk of their attacks down Köln’s left side but Götze constantly got the best of Eichner. Lanig and Matushyk also failed to track Kagawa who never seemed to stay in place. It was the Japanese players’ best performance since the opening day win against Hamburg. Overall, Köln could not cope with the sheer number of players Dortmund threw forward, with only Subotic staying back when in possession.
Dortmund’s continuous pressing also cut Köln’s attack off from the rest of their team. Köln’s front four were rarely involved with Podolski, Chihi and Peszko especially quiet. In fact, Dortmund goalkeeper Weidenfeller touched the ball more often than Peszko. Jajalo constantly had to drop deep, only adding to the divide and isolating his forward. One has to wonder whether moving Riether, who has been so instrumental in the center of the pitch since his move to Köln, to right back was the wisest decision by Solbakken.
The win against Köln marked Dortmund’s fourth consecutive victory in the league and propelled them into second place in the standings. Klopp has now won all 7 matches against Köln since taking charge of Dortmund and are looking quite good after their stuttering start. Dortmund did everything right against Köln. They pressed fiercely without compromising possession and supported each other in all parts of the pitch. The play out of the back was especially impressive with Hummels and Subotic given a great platform to utilize their passing skills and Götze and Grosskreutz always presenting the option. Full of confidence, Dortmund now face Dynamo Dresden on Tuesday in the DFB Cup.
Solbakken admitted how poor his side was and accepted blame for the result afterwards, noting also the gap in quality between the two sides. Most troubling was how Köln seemed to have thrown in the towel after only Dortmund’s second goal and made it so easy for the remainder of the match. Solbakken will have to reevaluate their worst performance of the season, especially with a difficult Cup match against Hoffenheim looming this upcoming week.
Man of the Match
Sebastian Kehl & Mats Hummels – All Dortmund players had fine performances and several others can be mentioned here but Kehl and Hummels in particular stood out. Both players had the most touches on the ball and completed the most passes (A combined 197 and 140 respectively). Kehl won more tackles than any other player on the pitch and put in his best performance in months. Hummels had a hand in three of Dortmund’s goals and at times looked like he was playing in Kagawa’s position.
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