Borussia Dortmund were made to work hard for the 1-0 win against FC Köln in the Bundesliga Topspiel, with Donyell Malen scoring what proved to be the winner with just minutes remaining.
BVB dominated possession in the first half and struggled to break down a Köln side that played in a low block that looked to break on the counter-attack. It was Köln’s Davie Selke that came closest to scoring in the opening 45 minutes, his shot deflected onto the Dortmund crossbar. Julian Brandt, who was arguably one of BVB’s best creative players last season, also forced Marvin Schwäbe into an excellent save.
Coming out for the second half, it was Köln who threatened to take the lead and they got a lot of joy behind Ramy Bensebaini, who looked to attack. Sargis Adamyan forced Gregor Kobel into an excellent save, but it was Donyell Malen that proved to be the hero on the night- the Dutchman in the right place to give his side an important 1-0 lead.
With the pace of Karim Adeyemi, Youssoufa Moukoko and Malen, Dortmund looked far more threatening but as Köln probed for an equaliser, they have Mats Hummels to thank who made a crucial interception in stoppage time. Edin Terzic won’t be too happy, but they overcame a defensively strong Köln side.
Borussia Dortmund Player Ratings
Gregor Kobel, 7 – Made three saves on the evening, one an excellent save to deny Sargis Adamyan with 12 minutes remaining as Köln pushed to find the first goal of the game. According to Sofascore, prevented 1.54 Köln goals and distributed the ball well with 96% pass accuracy.
Julian Ryerson, 6
Niclas Süle, 6
Mats Hummels, 7
Ramy Bensebaini, 7 – One of Borussia Dortmund’s better players on the evening, but progressing the ball up the pitch allowed Köln to exploit the space behind the Algerian. Did win 9 of his 8 duels but lost the ball on 23 occasions. Registered three interceptions and a further three clearances. Had more touches (107) than any Dortmund player.
Emre Can, 6
Marcel Sabitzer, 7
Donyell Malen, 7 – Struggled to impose himself on the game, but did score what proved to be the winner with two minutes remaining. The Dutchman in the right place, at the right time.
Marco Reus, 7 – Alongside Julian Brandt, was Borussia Dortmund’s best player in the final third. Replaced by Karim Adeyemi in the 70th minute, but completed three key passes and created one big chance. Also completed 100% of his dribbles and was successful in 4 of his 6 duels. Still an integral player in what BVB are trying to achieve despite relinquishing his captaincy, but overall it was a frustrating evening for Dortmund in front of goal.
Julian Brandt, 7
Sébastien Haller, 4 – Struggled to impose himself on the game against a Köln side that were happy to sit with 11 players behind the ball. Tried a couple of neat flicks but nothing that came to fruition. Had one shot all game, which was blocked. Just 16 touches in one hour.
Others: Felix Nmecha (6), Youssoufa Moukoko (6), Karim Adeyemi (-), Marius Wolf (-), Jamie Bynoe-Gittens (-)
Köln Player Ratings
Marvin Schwäbe, 6
Benno Schmitz, 6
Timo Hübers, 6
Julian Chabot, 7
Leart Paqarada, 7
Eric Martel, 7
Dejan Ljubicic, 7 – With the departure of Ellyes Skhiri, Dejan Ljubicic can now play his preferred central position. Completed 89% of his passes and was successful in 50% of his ground duels. The Austrian just doesn’t stop running, and Köln will do their best to keep Ljubicic at the club despite interest from Wolfsburg.
Rasmus Carstensen, 6
Luca Waldschmidt, 5
Florian Kainz, 6
Davie Selke, 7 – Substituted prior to the hour mark, likely to manage the forward’s fitness. But always looked to initiate the press and came close to giving the visitors the lead in the first half, his shot deflected by Niklas Süle onto the crossbar.
Others: Sargis Adamyan (-), Mathias Olesen (-), Max Finkgräfe (-)
GGFN | Daniel Pinder