Three things we learned as Borussia Dortmund ran rampant away to FC Köln

Borussia Dortmund overcame a hapless FC Köln 4-0 at the Müngersdorfer Stadion as they began the Rückrunde in style. With the opening exchanges proving to be fairly balanced, it would take a well-worked set piece for the deadlock to be broken. Julian Brandt’s clever corner was carefully placed beyond the reach of Marvin Schwäbe by Donyell Malen, catching the hosts out in what ended up being the only clear-cut chance of the first half.

However, the second half would prove to be far more action-packed. An early golden chance would present itself to Jan Thielmann, but his effort was saved by Gregor Kobel, as Dortmund went on to punish Köln for their inefficiency in the attacking third. Niclas Füllkrug would calmly score from the spot, before Malen and Youssoufa Moukoko inflicted further embarrassment on their hosts. Despite Köln’s best efforts, they were unable to find a route back into the game, and defeat leaves them languishing in the relegation zone. As for Dortmund, they have their eyes set on a return to the top four, as their season looks to be turning around.

A new chapter for Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund may have ended the Hinrunde on a positive note with a 3-0 win away to Darmstadt, but the first half of the Bundesliga season had not been all too convincing for Die Schwarzgelben. Coming into the Rückrunde in fifth place, 15 points behind Bayer Leverkusen in top spot, certainly was not what Dortmund would have had in mind at the beginning of the campaign.

Regardless, it does now appear that BvB are on the right track, and a new chapter is upon them. With the return of Jadon Sancho, Dortmund have seen an added injection of creativity and directness that was not on display during the first half of the campaign. This has only appeared to help those in the attacking third, no more than Donyell Malen, who now looks to be as decisive as he was in the second half of last season.

However, as well as this, Ian Maatsen has seamlessly stepped into this side and added much-needed quality to Dortmund’s left-hand side. BvB now resemble a team rather than individuals, and as the campaign goes on, they could become one of the most dangerous sides in the league.

Köln are in big trouble

It has been a significantly difficult season so far for the Billygoats. Coming into matchday 18, just one point and one place above Darmstadt at the bottom of the table, there was a sense that a statement would be needed if the side were going to push themselves back up the Bundesliga table.

However, it was clear where a difference was going to have to be seen. While they may occupy the second relegation spot, it has only been in the attacking third that Köln have struggled this season, boasting the ninth-best defensive record in the league. Regardless, once again, their attacking deficiencies reared its ugly head. 

Despite dominating Dortmund for shots in the first half, none of their seven total efforts on goal were on target, while their xG from open play was lingering at 0.03. The second half saw improvement, but without a clinical striker up front, they were unable to take any of the chances they were able to create. An issue that has plagued the club all season, and unfortunately, change does not appear to be on the horizon. If they are unable to find a clinical edge, then relegation seems inevitable for the Billygoats.

The Jadon Sancho problem

The signing of Jadon Sancho was understandably seen as a remarkable piece of business by all of those associated with Die Schwarzgelben. For a side that has struggled for creativity and dynamism so far this season, there was an understanding that if Edin Terzić could unlock his true ability, Dortmund would see a positive change in their results.

Therefore, after a teasing first display away at Darmstadt, the Englishman left everyone wanting more as BvB travelled to Köln. A scintillating display saw Sancho complete four successful dribbles, create one big chance, and win a penalty for the Black and Yellow’s.

However, while his performances have undoubtedly been phenomenal, the issue he has created relates to another English winger that Dortmund possess. Jamie Bynoe-Gittens has been a breath of fresh air for BvB this season, and as he started to establish himself in this Dortmund side, he appears to now be playing second fiddle to Sancho. Bynoe-Gittens is someone that Terzić should be developing and prioritising; instead, he has now become an afterthought for someone who will leave the club in six months.

GGFN | Will Shopland

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