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Cologne v Dortmund (Fri 7.45pm)
Over the course of four years, Peter Stöger became not only the longest serving coach in Cologne’s history but inevitably a club legend too.
Yet having miraculously led them into Europe last May for the first time in 25 years, it all went downhill at an alarming rate this season, with Stöger leaving the club back in December as the club blundered in the Bundesliga.
Tonight, he faces his successor, Stefan Ruthenbeck, back at the Rhein-Energie-Stadion and both could really do with the points albeit for different reasons.
Cologne are bottom of the table with 13 points. That’s ten more than Stöger left them with around two months ago, with all of those 10 points collected in Cologne’s last four games.
Ruthenbeck has tried to temper growing expectations of an unlikely survival by pointing out before Dortmund’s visit: “This is no Harry Potter film.”
Stöger will be hoping for a magical return in any case after the 2-2 draw against Freiburg last weekend, described by sporting director Michael Zorc as “far, far, far too little.”
The departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal might help to settle the mood around the club in their quest for Champions League football but the question now is how quickly Michy Batshuayi can settle.
The Chelsea loanee is set for his debut but Andrey Yarmolenko was ruled out with a long-term injury this week, meaning Jadon Sancho and Christian Pulisic will flank the new signing. Cologne, meanwhile, are likely to keep a similar line-up to the one that drew with Augsburg last weekend.
Dortmund have not performed well since the winter break. They’re still yet to lose a Bundesliga game under Stöger but the contrasting momentum of his former side and his current one suggests that could change on his return.
- Cologne 2, Dortmund 1 (12-1, Unibet)
- Terodde to score first (7-1, Unibet)
- Cologne win (17-5, Unibet)
Munich-born Raphael Honigstein writes about football for Germany’s biggest broadsheet, Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Guardian, ESPNFC and his tips appear here thanks to our football partner at MrFixitsTips, Unibet. They're making a big splash in the UK betting scene and if you join them today you can claim up to £30 in Welcome Bonuses when you deposit and place your first bet.