A quick reaction to FC Köln’s scoreless draw (of a victory?) at Borussia Dortmund.
What it Means
That the long-awaited good vibes that finally arrived last weekend via the win over Frankfurt do not have to be set aside.
That the promoted Billy Goats took four of six points from Champions League knockout stage Borussia Dortmund this season.
That Köln is capable of one-upping relegation competition Hamburger SV by repeating their holding of Dortmund scoreless, but doing it in front of the Yellow Wall.
That the defensive posture of Köln can continue to power the bid to remain in the Bundesliga for a second-consecutive season.
That Peter Stöger and his crew finish match day 25 with a new Bundesliga record of seven scoreless draws in a single season.
Rising – Maybe a misnomer, as he’s consistently among the first names you have to mention when discussing the most-important contributors to any individual match, but Timo Horn rebounded nicely from surrendering two goals last weekend to post another shutout.
Okay, so he says he allowed Alex Meier to score from the penalty spot with the result in hand to help keep Kevin Wimmer’s suspension as low as possible, and he had pretty much no chance in the first goal . . . still, work with me here.
Timo stood tall against a talented attack before a huge, vocal crowd under the Saturday night lights and looked comfortable in doing it. He had several opportunities to maintain the clean sheet and, clearly, did so successfully each time.
So you see why Tottenham Hotspur has been sniffing around?
Rising – Striker-Goal relations are steadily improving since last weekend’s rough celebration between Anthony Ujah and Hennes.
The honored mascot of the 1. FC Köln was visited by a delegation from the club for his eighth birthday this weekend, including Ujah who came armed with carrots and smiles. Hennes, always the gracious one, showed no hard feeling and accepted the conciliatory root vegetable treats with aplomb.
Slow and Steady Retains the Class
Dortmund entered the match wanting to return to winning form after the disappointment of splitting in Hamburg and with aspirations of grabbing a European spot not yet shelved.
It has to be said that Köln got from this match pretty much what it had targeted. Even with a double-striker formation, an away point at a strong side fits much more into the EffZeh‘s current goals of avoiding the bottom three than what the BVB might have wished for from Saturday night.
Now more than halfway through the Rückrunde, Cologne is one point ahead of their Hinrunde pace. Considering they spent winter in eleventh place, everyone at the club is very comfortable with how things are proceeding right now. The focus remains on establishing a permanent Bundesliga address, so everyone will continue to look at a slow widening of the gap with the bottom three, rather that worrying about teams above pulling further and further away.
Goes to Dominic Maroh. He was tested often and came out the other side of this match looking great.
The keeper gets the glory from a clean sheet, but with Köln hemmed into their own area for much of the second half, Maroh cleaning up in his battles at an 85% clip, the central defender’s influence on the match was palpable.
Compound everything by Maroh being partnered with Mergim Mavraj for the first time all season, and you have an MVP-type performance.
As they were the last team to face the Robin Dutt-version of Werder Bremen, they’ll now be the last to get a first-hand look at Viktor Skripnik’s side, which is rebranded as something much less of a pushover than the one they beat 0:1 at Westerstadion.
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