After a disappointing Champions League opener for Borussia Dortmund, the team rebounded strongly beating FC Cologne by a crooked 5-0 scoreline. With the clean sheet, Dortmund are still yet to concede a goal in Bundesliga play this season.
— Sebastian Weßling (@fluestertweets) September 17, 2017
Manager Peter Bosz made a total of three changes from the midweek team, bringing in Dan-Axel Zagadou in for Jeremy Toljan who is dealing with some minor muscular problems. Gonzalo Castro replaced Shinji Kagawa, while Max Philipp gave Christian Pulisic a much needed rest after a string of starts since returning from international duty. Julian Weigl made his return to the squad after missing a few months with a broken ankle, featuring on a six man Dortmund bench.
There was no European hangover for the hosts, as Andriy Yarmolenko’s right footed cross found the head of Philipp for the young German’s first goal for BVB within the first three minutes. This allowed the black and yellows to play a more open game in the first 15 minutes, giving Cologne some space to attack but the visitors rarely threatened throughout the game.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, the game was relatively tight until the second half. Dortmund’s second goal was decided by the video assistant referee, as the match official blew the whistle as he thought Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn was impeded while attempting to gather the ball on a corner kick, before Sokratis toe poked the ball between the keeper’s legs into the back of the net. The replay showed no contact with any Dortmund player, and the goal was given despite vehement protests from Cologne players and manager Peter Stöger.
The floodgates opened in the second half, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nearly found the back of the net only a minute after kickoff, but his curled effort went just wide of the far post. Last year’s league leading scorer did not have to wait much longer to get on the score sheet, as Aubameyang converted a penalty awarded by VAR after Philipp’s close range header was blocked by the flailing arm of Cologne defender Lukas Klünter. It was the second time in the game the VAR made the correct call leading to a Dortmund goal, something that could have been useful last Wednesday against Spurs.
Only seconds later, Aubameyang grabbed his second and Dortmund’s fourth via a Lukasz Piszczek cross. Yarmolenko played a nice ball to play in the right back, who squared it up for Aubameyang to tap in with relative ease. It was certainly Yarmolenko’s best game in a Dortmund shirt yet, despite his banger against Spurs. The Ukrainian winger looked more than competent on his weaker foot, and did not always cut inside to his left like many would expect. His agility threw Cologne defenders off-balance all game, and it was a very encouraging sign for his Dortmund career.
At this point, Dortmund had imposed their dominance on the game with intricate play around the box, everyone combining well with each other which was encouraging to see after an unsynchronized performance against Spurs. A fifth goal came only nine minutes later, as Mahmoud Dahoud juked a Cologne defender to play in Philipp, who chipped Horn for his second goal of the game. Marco Reus was shown shaking his head in the stands after Philipp’s second goal, perhaps wishing he was out there himself.
xG map for Dortmund – Koln. Pretty good bounceback from BVB. pic.twitter.com/VHG0gjZKhr
— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) September 17, 2017
Cologne offered very little in attack, and their best chance of game came as Zagadou was beaten by a Cologne attacker, forcing goalkeeper Roman Bürki to make a rare save on the day.
Another bright spot on the day for the hosts was the return of Julian Weigl. After suffering a broken ankle near the end of the previous season, Weigl only recently returned to training and came on in the 67th minute to replace Nuri Sahin. Considering Dortmund”s lengthy injury list, the return of the midfield metronome is a welcome addition.
Yellow Wall Game Ball: Max Philipp. It could go to Andriy Yarmolenko for his assist and pre-assists, but Philipp earns it for his first and second goals in Dortmund colors, and both were neat finishes. Philipp had been on the bench for the Spurs game, but marked his return to the line-up in an emphatic way.
The 5-0 win sees Dortmund return to the top of the table, leading the surprising overachievers Hannover only on goal difference. Next up, die Schwarzgelben travel north to face Hamburg on Wednesday in the Bundesliga’s first “Englishe Woche” of the season.