Borussia Dortmund restored their five point lead over Bayern Munich at the top of the table after coming from behind to hammer 1. FC Köln 6-1 on Sunday.
Milivoje Novakovic had given the Billy Goats an unlikely lead, before Lukas Piszczek’s header brought the scores level. In the second half, Dortmund shifted up a few gears, and Shinji Kagawa (2), Ilkay Gündogan, Robert Lewandowski and Ivan Perisic all got on the scoresheet as Köln capitulated late on.
Köln start impressively
The reigning champions initially looked unusually out of sorts and instead of implementing their customary one-touch passing game, they sought to find Lewandowski up front with long, high passes. Their early difficulties undoubtedly also had a lot to do with how Köln had started the match – determined and focused in the challenges and doubling up on Dortmund whenever they approached the penalty area. The hosts’ even got their noses in front when Novakovic got in front of Neven Subotic to head in Martin Lanig’s cross (13′).
Little by little the visitors began to show precisely why they are on course for a second successive title and were far more disciplined in their passing and put the hosts under increasing pressure. Piszczek grabbed the goal to pull them level, glancing in a header at the near post from Marcel Schmelzer’s free-kick (22′). The goalscorer should have added another just moments later when Kevin Großkreutz found him unmarked at the back post with a superb cross-field pass, but he could not keep his volley from flying over the bar.
Dortmund hit back
With the guests in control, Köln started looking ragged and resorted to blind punts upfield just to clear their ranks. One such ball freed Lukas Podolski down the left, but after cutting inside to shoot on to his weaker right foot, Weidenfeller was able to save easily. That chance was an exception rather than the result of good play and the guests subsequently ruled the roost once more. Sven Bender headed in a second for Dortmund, but it was ruled out for offside, meaning the sides went in goalless at half time.
Köln have a tendency to start listlessly after the break, and have now conceded more goals than any other team in the opening 15 minutes of the second half (13). And so it was here too, as the visitors established a comfortable lead for themselves, first through Kagawa’s excellent volley from Piszczek’s flick on (47′), before Lewandowski finished off a terrific team move from close range (52′). Despite Köln’s efforts to keep their heads up, Dortmund looked far too strong and Kagawa and Piszczek in particular linked up well down the right, giving full-back Miso Brecko an afternoon to forget.
BVB boss Jürgen Klopp introduced captain Sebastian Kehl to the fray, after the captain had been rested following Dortmund’s draining cup exploits midweek, and the veteran brought a calming presence to the midfield as the visitors eased off. The onus was on Köln to score again but they laboured to get the ball from the league leaders, who kept possession with superb one-touch football without pressing to add to their goal tally.
Dortmund did increase the pressure, and their lead, as the match entered the final period, ruthlessly exploiting the extra space at the back with Köln going for a goal that would bring them back into the match. Gündogan tapped in from Kagawa’s pass (78′) before the Japanese international grabbed his second of the afternoon (80′), while substitute Perisic also got in on the act as the guests cut through Köln’s defence at will.