Lucien Favre opted for five alterations from the Dortmund side that dispatched Club Brugge during the week. Emre Can, Felix Passlack, Julian Brandt, Axel Witsel and Marco Reus replaced Raphael Guerreiro, Jude Bellingham, Thomas Delaney, Thorgan Hazard and Giovanni Reyna.
Markus Gisdol made four changes to the FC line-up following defeat to 1. FC Union Berlin. Jorge Meré and Sebastian Andersson missed out through injury, while Noah Katterbach and Dominick Drexler dropped to the bench. Sava-Arangel Cestic made his debut, with Sebastiaan Bornauw, Elvis Rexhbecaj and Jan Thielmann also earning a starting berth.
After Jadon Sancho hit the bar early on, many would have been thinking that it was a sign of things to come. That would not be the case as FC looked to counter quickly against the Dortmund defence. After Ismail Jakobs won a corner, Ondrej Duda’s delivery was flicked on by Marius Wolf to the back post and Ellyes Skhiri was in the perfect position to poke home from close range.
Ondrej Duda was dictating the play and having a real influence on the game as a false nine. Marius Wolf’s cutback didn’t find a taker in the middle of the area before Jan Thielmann’s effort on goal from a Salih Özcan cross; FC were creating chances. At the other end, however, was the ever-dangerous Erling Haaland. He had his first chance after 25 minutes but was brilliantly denied by Timo Horn, even when the officials missed it.
The remainder of the first half saw FC continue to be brave going forward and it nearly paid off. Ismail Jakobs intercepted a stray pass at the back and tried to find Ondrej Duda, but Manuel Akanji made a timely intervention to snuff out the danger. Aside from the Sancho and Haaland chances, it was a superb rearguard action and overall team performance from Markus Gisdol’s men.
The second-half began with much more Dortmund pressure, as Lucien Favre’s side sped up the play and began to find space going forward. Timo Horn saved from Marco Reus’ free-kick before a brave block on the edge of the area turned Emre Can’s effort away from goal. Axel Witsel also fired over on the angle as Dortmund were building up a head of steam.
However, another FC break won another corner. It was Ondrej Duda’s delivery that was flicked goalward by Marius Wolf once more, but this time Roman Bürki was in the way. Yet, again, it would be Ellyes Skhiri sneaking in at the back post to bring the ball over the line and send the FC players and staff in rapture. A crucial goal at an even more important time.
It was clear that Dortmund would come on strong and they did. Youssoufa Moukoko came off the bench and almost made an immediate impact, getting through the FC defence before dragging wide of the mark. However, BVB wouldn’t let up and got a goal back. Thorgan Hazard was played in by Giovanni Reyna as the subs combined to see the Belgian pick out the bottom corner from 14 yards.
As FC continued to win valuable time on the counter, Dortmund went close through Mats Hummels as he drew a spectacular stop from Timo Horn. Marco Reus then found space and picked out Haaland in the middle, only for the Norwegian to shoot wide of the target. Arne Aarnink blew for full-time moments later and the game was over. After 18 games and almost nine months, we won again.
Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Bürki – Meunier (Hazard 61‘), Hummels, Akanji, Passlack (Reyna 67’) – Can, Witsel – Sancho, Brandt (Moukoko 67’), Reus – Haaland.
1. FC Köln (5-2-2-1): T. Horn – Wolf, Cestic, Bornauw, Czichos (J. Horn 65’), Jakobs – Özcan, Skhiri – Thielmann (Ehizibue 90+3’), Rexhbecaj (Drexler 74’) – Duda.
Goals: 0:1 Skhiri 9’. 0:2, Skhiri 60’. 1:2, Hazard 74’.
Referee: Arne Aarnink (Nordhorn).
Bookings: Skhiri (29’), Can (54’), Jakobs (90+1’).