Dortmund focused on Cologne as showdown with Bayern looms

Ahead of the Classicer’s clash with Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund will want to avoid losing the spotlight against Cologne on Sunday when the title is on the line.

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While Dortmund have had their problems with top teams in recent years, their title troubles have really come to nothing with poor performance against underdogs but energetic league underdogs.

Led by pugnacious manager Steffen Baumgart, often seen on the touchline in a simple cap and T-shirt in the cold German winter, no club embodies the underdog spirit more than Cologne.

Dortmund stuttered after their roaring start in 2023 of 10 wins in 10 matches that ended in a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, leading to Champions League relegation.

This defeat was followed by a 2-2 draw against a struggling Schalke as the armed but tenacious home team equalized twice.

Dortmund’s return to winning ways on Saturday will put them up a point ahead of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga table for at least one night.

On Sunday, Bayern will go to the unpredictable Bayer Leverkusen Javi Alonso.

Dortmund’s next match after Cologne is against Bayern.

Dortmund have not won a league match in Munich since the 2013-14 season when Jurgen Klopp was still at the helm, and that’s one of the reasons they’ve been constant bridesmaids in German football since their last title in 2012.

When Borussia visited Cologne in October, they had a chance to come out on top, but despite an early lead, they lost 3-2.

That result was in the mind of Dortmund boss Edin Terzic on Thursday when he said “we’ve been warned enough” about Cologne.

Cologne are in bad shape but know another result against a title contender could get them back on track.

Having started 2023 on a five-match unbeaten streak, including a draw with Bayern, Cologne have lost three of their last four matches without scoring, raising concerns that the 12th-place team could be drawn into a relegation battle. .

Baumgart said his team was having too much fun during the famous Cologne Carnival in February and are paying the price.

“I don’t want to offend anyone, but now I have the experience of participating in the carnival,” the manager, who joined Cologne during the Covid pandemic, said on Thursday.

“It wasn’t good for us.

“In the future, I will try to do things differently.”

Who to watch: Benjamin Pavard (Bayern)

The French defender’s recent turnaround echoed the situation at his club, who now lead the Bundesliga by two points.

Bayern stumbled after the winter break but have now reasserted their league and European dominance.

After scoring his second goal in Bayern’s 5-3 victory over Augsburg – his first brace in professional football – Pavard stepped into the stands and tapped his badge, which was unthinkable in January when the World Cup winner was rumored to be wants to leave.

Pavard reaffirmed his commitment in early March, saying Bayern “could do a lot this season” and “I won’t leave the ship in the middle of the journey”.

Key statistics

6. Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane has ruled out six offside goals this season, more than any player in Europe’s top five leagues.

0 – Hoffenheim were the only club in the bottom five to lose on the last matchday and are in last place with 19 points.

7/6 – Bayern have won six of their last seven victories over Leverkusen, including the 2020 German Cup final.

Fixtures (all times 14:30 GMT unless otherwise noted)


Borussia Mönchengladbach – Werder Bremen (1930)


Augsburg vs Schalke, Hoffenheim vs Hertha Berlin, Stuttgart vs Wolfsburg, Bochum vs RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund vs Cologne (1730)


Union Berlin – Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen – Bavaria Munich (1630), Mainz – Freiburg (1830)