Preview: 1. FC Köln v Borussia Dortmund

THE TOP 8: AFC Champions League 2019 match day 6 (part 1)

Borussia Dortmund have a chance to move up to third place when they take on 1. FC Köln at the Rhein Energie Stadion in their Bundesliga clash on Saturday.

10 December 2016
Kick-off 22h30 HKT
Venue: Rhein Energie Stadion

Referee: Felix Zwayer
Assistants: T. Schiffner, M. Achmüller
Fourth official: S. Jablonski

Head-to-head summary:

Köln 83 28 21 34
BVB 83 34 21 28

Previous encounter:

Dortmund 2-2 Köln 14/05/16 (Bundesliga)

Dortmund goalscorers: (11′) G. Castro, (75′) M. Reus
Köln goalscorers: (27′) A. Modeste , (43′) M. Jojic

Players to watch:

Three goals and six assists in only four games since a return from a long-term groin injury. The numbers says it all for the 27-year-old captain Marco Reus.

His understanding and added trickery up front with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be frightening prospect for any defence in Europe and it was proven with the ease in which they carved out the Los Blancos back-four in mid-week.

In this case, the home side will be hoping for a inspiring performance from goalkeeper Timo Horn if they are to get anything from the encounter.

If Anthony Modeste fails to make it onto the pitch, their target man option to alleviate pressure by holding the ball upfront will be lost and Horn may well find himself quite busy between the sticks.

A capable shot-stopper, the 23-year-old has kept three clean sheets in nine starts thus far and is widely touted as a future national team goalkeeper.

Team form and manager quotes:

The Billy Goats’ defence that’s been widely praised this season conceded four goals against Hoffenheim in their last fixture, which was Peter Stöger’s heaviest defeat as Köln coach.

Coming up against the highest scoring team in Europe will be a tough test at home but something that remains positive is their unbeaten record at home this season.

Conceding just twice, and would be able to leapfrog their opponents into an automatic UEFA Europa League position with a win.

Dortmund come into this one on the back of a convincing 4-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach last weekend and impressive 2-2 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu.

A win could see them move to third place, anything less could spell the end of the title race for Thomas Tuchel’s side before the winter break.

Nonetheless, the positive aspect from their return to form has been the return of Marco Reus and Tuchel admits that the younger players are feeding off his confident persona in the dressing room.

“He’s incredibly important for the team,” he said in the pre-match press conference. “Through what he had to go through he became the personality he is now.

“The room he fills with his presence is a very big room. He fills a vacuum that was there previously. He deserves every compliment.”

Team news:

Midfielder Marco Höger is back after a knee injury, but Simon Zoller (shoulder) and Anthony Modeste (knee) will have to undergo late fitness tests.

Mario Götze missed the trip to Madrid due to a minor knee injury, but could recover in time to face Köln. Shinji Kagawa and Raphael Guerreiro may also return to the squad.