A happy Easter?
Saturday before Easter in Dortmund! And for Saturday afternoon - where will be Dortmund's most exciting place? No question, it's the Westfalenstadion: In our sold out stadium Borussia welcomes 1. FC Köln and hopefully will continue it's successful development as done during the last weeks. And a further success can only be a win against the club from the Rhine.
Köln or Cologne is not only a center in Germany's carnival scene. Cologne also played a significant role in German football. But, when you take a look at the history of FC Köln it seems that there maybe some parallels between carnival and the club's chronicle. From 1963 until 1998 without any interruption in the first league, the club underwent 4 relegations and returned in 2005 into the Bundesliga. So a lot of ups and downs and a record-breaking high number in changing coaches is nearly normal life for the fans of Cologne. A lot of German internationals began their career in Cologne. Lukas Podolski, Patrick Helmes, Thomas Häßler, Toni Schumacher, Pierre Littbarski are only a few players to mention. After intensive negotiations current German international Lukas Podolski will return from Bayern Munich to Cologne in the beginning of next season. And let's not forget Wolfgang Overath, midfielder of the legendary German world champion team 1974, now is the club's president. Very close to the president works a person whom all BVB supporters don't have in a good memory: Michael Meier, together with former BVB president Gerd Niebaum responsible for Borussia's dramatic financial crisis in 2004/05, is now the manager of FC Köln! In an interview with a Dortmund newspaper Meier mentioned that his heart is also still beating for Borussia. A sentence which Borussia fans can only read with mixed emotions! Reactions in our forum spread from lack of understanding to verbal aggression against Meier. So it will be the best to close the chapter Michael Meier in this warm up-report. We all know the results and consequences of his management job for Borussia. Luckily our club is still alive! Now Michael Meier is responsible for the management in Cologne and it's not our task to comment his work for his new club.
Sorry! Forget the last words for a while because two remarks of Michael Meier in the interview mentioned above are interesting: "Our Coach Christoph Daum and me have the same opinion: Borussia was the best team we saw during this season in our stadium" And a little bit later: "It will be difficult for us to gain anything in Dortmund if Borussia will play on the same high level as in the first leg."
Famous words, which include, for sure, a lot of tactics. But fact is that Borussia delivered a good match in October last year in Cologne. BVB won 1:0 and Borussia's midfielder and former Cologne player Florian Kringe scored the only goal of the match.
How is the situation now before the return match?
Cologne is currently in positon 11 and with 32 points, 9 points ahead of the relegation zone. A position which looks safe enough to stay in the league but Cologne's coach Christoph Daum mentioned often that it's necessary to gain further points to avoid any contact to the relegation zone. After Cologne's derby defeat against Leverkusen (0:2) last Sunday a further defeat against Borussia would aggravate the club's situation. Star and goalgetter in Cologne's team is Slovenian striker Milivoje Novakovic. 14 goals up to now are proof enough for his high quality. Without him the situation in the league would be less comfortable for Cologne because scoring goals is not the strength of his other offensive team colleagues. A cold forced Novakovic to stay away from training but until Saturday he will join the team again. Other important players in Cologne's team are goalkeeper Mondragon, defensives Mohamad and Geromel and in the midfield Petit and Ehret.
In Borussia's team, midfield players Tamas Hajnal, Sebastian Kehl and Florian Kringe are not in the best health at the moment. Hajnal is suffering from the after pains of flu, Kringe still has some thigh problems which already didn't allow him to play last week in Berlin. Sebastian Kehl is struggling with groin troubles. But it would be too pessimistic to classify them as non-starters for Saturday. One thing is for sure: Tinga will return from suspension. Also Kevin Prince Boateng took part in the trainings sessions this week. To play against Cologne after recovering from his knee injury would be perhaps too early for him, but a place on the sub bench could be an option. No news regarding Mats Hummels. The injured defensive will probably play no more matches for BVB until the end of this season.
All in all we can look optimistically on Saturday's match. Borussia showed an upward trend in the last matches and maybe our top striker Alex Frei can improve his personal scorer list. A win against FC Köln would keep Borussia's chance for the UEFA cup alive. Of course currently only a small chance but there is still a ray of hope especially on Easter!