Michy Batshuayi had a dream debut, even as Dortmund struggled to claim three points at bottom-of-the-table Cologne. Andre Schürrle ultimately netted the late winner, dashing home fans' hopes.
Cologne 2 - 3 Borussia Dortmund
(Zoller 60', Mere 70' — Batshuayi 33', 62', Schürrle 84')
Only an offside call denied Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi a debut hat trick for Borussia Dortmund. The loanee from Chelsea opened the scoring and also immediately restored Dortmund's lead after the first of two Cologne equalizers. On the second of the three occasions he found the net, just before the break, his goal was disallowed because a teammate was in an offside position.
"I am very happy. But the main reason I'm happy is the win," Batshuayi told Eurosport afterwards, adding that it was a difficult first game.
Batshuayi was under pressure to deliver in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's stead, and got off to a strong start
Dortmund did struggle against a Cologne side that's been on the road to recovery after its nightmare start to the season. Possession and shot statistics remained balanced throughout and Cologne squandered several other chances to punish the bookmakers' favorites.
Germany's Andre Schürrle must have been doubly relieved on netting the fifth and final goal of the night. Not only was it ultimately the match-winner for BVB, it was also Schürrle's first goal in the Bundesliga this season. BVB's most expensive transfer last netted on March 4, 2017, as part of a 6-2 rout of Bayer Leverkusen.
FULL TIME! Dortmund win 3-2 in Cologne.
90+4' — Jonas Hector booked for a clumsy foul on Kagawa. Cheap card for such a key player to pick up so late.
90+3' — Batshuayi has cramps. Probably his first full 90 minutes in quite some time.
90+1' — Four additional minutes. Dortmund remain undefeated under Peter Stöger as it stands.
89' — Sub Jadon Sancho hobbles off. Dortmund have used all three subs. Will have to tough it out a man down.
87' — Cologne throw Claudio Pizarro on for midfielder Höger. Schürrle makes way for Manuel Akanji (making his debut).
85' — Dortmund captain Sokratis with a diving header to clear a goal-bound shot from Simon Terrode. This one's not over yet. Dortmund look more than capable of conceding a third.
84' — GOAL! (Schürrle) That's Andre Schürrle's first goal since last March! Dortmund reclaim the lead. Batshuayi released Schürrle down the right, the German international had options but elected to shoot. Thanks to a deflection, the ball finds its way past Horn.
83' — A frustration foul from Batshuayi on Simon Terrode. The referee declines to dole out a yellow card to accompany his debut goals.
81' — Andre Schürrle fires a shot with his left, forcing a sharp save out of Horn.
77' — Home fans might be getting ambitious at this stage. Dortmund look vulnerable in defense and have allowed a couple of dangerous shots in the last two minutes. They're also struggling to link up with each other in midfield when in possession.
72' — Jadon Sancho klaxon! The Brit comes on to replace fellow Anglophone Christian Pulisic.
70' — GOAL! (Mere) Center back Jorge Mere up for a corner and slips his marker (Batshuayi) to head home. Cries of "Köller Alaaf" (it's a Karneval thing, we won't go into that now) ring out around the stadium.
65' — Big chance for Cologne to make it 2-2, again it falls to Zoller. He didn't catch his shot right, though, and it's an easy pick-up for Bürki in goal.
62' — GOAL! (Batshuayi) Cologne fans barely got the chance to cheer! Michy Batshuayi nutmegs Horn to immediately restore Dortmund's away lead. Right then, Michy, have you got a hat trick in you?
60' — GOAL! (Zoller) Cologne draw level, and it's substitute Simon Zoller providing the finishing touch. Dominik Heintz's shot was only parried by Bürki and Zoller was fist to react, nodding the ball into an open goal.
56' — That could have been a second for Batshuayi. Andre Schürle did well with numbers to feed the Belgian at the right moment, but Timo Horn was off his line sharply to block the shot with his leg.
54' — Guirassy tries to turn on the skills as Cologne attack, taking on Toljan and firing off a shot from a tight angle. He couldn't test Bürki though.
48' — Promising attack for the hosts, but Milos Jojic can't get his shot away under pressure from the Dortmund defense.
46' — The second half is underway, Dortmund lead 1-0 in Cologne. One change at the break, Cologne's Christian Clemens makes way for Simon Zoller.
HT analysis: Dortmund lead what's been a fairly closely-matched encounter, although the visitors have taken nine shots to Cologne's two, also holding 56 percent of possession. Batshuayi hasn't had that many chances to impress, but has been in the right place for a pair of crosses and has demonstrated plenty of desire. On the ball, he's been noticeably keen to shoot rather than pass at times — but what would you expect from a striker on his debut? Dortmund have by no means looked impregnable, and Milos Jojic will still be ruing his early chance smothered by Bürki.
44' — Disallowed goal (Batshuayi). VAR intervenes in the movie script, rightly calling back Batshuayi's second for offside. It was rather reminiscent of the first, laid on by a great low cross from Toljan. Christian Pulisic was the offside player at the back post, and he was occupying last man Jonas Hector, so was deemed to be interfering in play.
33' — GOAL! (Batshuayi) Holy debut goal, Batman! Michy Batshuayi opens his account immediately. Great work from Jeremy Toljan, taking on his man on the left, getting to the byline and delivering a low cross into the danger zone. Batshuayi was where a number 9 (or number 44) needs to be.
31' — Cologne's right-winger Christian Clemens has had two excellent chances to cross in the last 10 minutes. Failed to get any elevation on either, both intercepted at the near post. Just not good enough.
29' — Quality cross to Christian Pulisic at the back post, but the US international can't test Timo Horn. A frankly rather rare flash of inspiration.
24' — Mahmoud Dahoud pulls the trigger from range, wide of the post.
17' — Danger in the Dortmund box at a Cologne corner. Nobody, attacker of defender alike, could get a clean look at the ball as it bobbled around. Hopeful Cologne calls for a penalty during the melee, either for a trip or for a possible Julian Weigl handball, but both appeared very borderline appeals.
15' — Crossbar Shinji Kagawa! Now it's Dortmund turn to threaten. Mahmoud Dahoud wanted a penalty in the build-up but was waved away. The ball fell to Kagawa who rattled a left-footer against the frame of the goal.
13' — Huge chance for Milos Jojic against his old club! Ball was teed up perfectly for him on the break. Dortmund's Roman Bürki did well to get down and smother the shot, looking for the bottom corner.
12' — Schürrle busy again down the left, whipping in a low cross. But it was a couple of yards in front of Michy Batshuayi.
8' — Andre Schürrle with the first meaningful shot, cutting in from the left onto his right foot. He pulled the trigger from just outside the box, shot whistled wide of the near post.
7' — Corner for Dortmund after a rather uneventful opening phase of play. Cologne deal with the delivery at the near post.
KICK OFF! New-boy Batshuayi gets the ball rolling.
— Peter Stöger is being positively mobbed on the sidelines before the game. Dealing with it pretty well.
— Dortmund and Cologne's last meeting, on September 17, ended in a 5-0 rout for BVB. Arsenal's record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a brace in that one.
— Some stats to chew on: Assuming a goal is scored tonight, it will the 500th of the Bundesliga season to date. Should Dortmund concede two (presumably they're not planning to), that would take the club to 1,500 conceded in the top-flight in their history.
— There's still a quarter of an hour until the match kicks off. You can wile a few of those minutes away reading our exclusive interview with Nuri Sahin. He dreams of taking Stöger's BVB coaching job one day. He's also played eight games against Cologne in his career and has never been on the losing side (seven wins, one draw).
— For Dortmund, Michy Batshuayi jumps straight into the attack. It's also a very attacking team sheet from Peter Stöger on his Cologne return. Behind Batshuayi, there's space for Shinji Kagawa, Christian Pulisic and Andre Schürrle, with Julian Weigl and the attack-minded Mahmoud Dahoud in holding midfield. Mario Götze's missing with a back injury. And in captain Marcel Schmelzer's absence, center back Sokratis will wear the armband.
— Here are the lineups for you. We'll start with the hosts. Former Dortmund midfielder Milos Jojic is in Cologne's team but Leandro Bittenocourt is injured for his former employer's visit. Jonas Hector's back in his old home on the left side of defense. Simon Terrode and Sehrou Guirassy lead the line, while Jhon Cordoba is back on the bench for the first time since his injury.
— Good evening and welcome to our coverage of probably the biggest Bundesliga game of the weekend. Borussia Dortmund visit bottom-of-the table Cologne. Both clubs are desperate for points, if for different reasons. Dortmund's Champions League spot is in serious doubt in a close fight among the pack chasing league leaders Bayern Munich. For Cologne, meanwhile, survival is at stake. Despite an upswing in form of late (the only way was up after their 16-game winless streak to start the season), they remain seven points adrift of safety.