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|Moneyline and Both Teams to Score
|Borussia Dortmund and Yes
|Borussia Dortmund and No
This has become a regular selection for BVB games, and Marco Rose will be desperate to finally shut an opponent out. It will probably not happen this weekend, though.
Back Borussia Dortmund to win and both teams to score (+125)
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Borussia Dortmund are one point behind Bayern Munich after nine rounds of Bundesliga fixtures. Marco Rose, appointed in the summer, would no doubt have settled for that margin at this stage of the season. However, it is sometimes easy to forget that Dortmund are potentially within one win of rising to the top of the table. Bayern has been so imperious in 2021/22 that a casual observer might assume they are miles ahead of the chasing pack. It is to Dortmund’s credit that the gap remains so small with more than a quarter of the campaign having elapsed.
The question, though, is how long BVB can keep this up. It would be unfair to expect them to match Bayern for performances. Dortmund might be the second-wealthiest club in Germany, but they are not particularly close to the Bavarians. Bayern’s financial advantage is evidenced by the fact they have won each of the last nine league titles. Dortmund managed to disrupt their dominance under Jurgen Klopp at the start of the last decade, but repeating the trick has only grown more difficult in the years since.
It is, however, impossible to ignore the gulf between the two teams which exists despite a slender one-point separation in the standings. A look at the underlying numbers is instructive. Expected goals are a statistic that measures the quality of chances a team creates and concedes. On average Bayern are 2.06 expected goals better than their opponents this season. The equivalent figure for Dortmund is 0.84.
The main problem for Rose’s side is in defense. Remarkably, BVB is yet to keep a clean sheet in the Bundesliga this term. Only five teams have conceded more goals than them. Unless Dortmund can significantly tighten up at the back, the title is unlikely to end up at Signal Iduna Park.
Koln are a historic club that won the Bundesliga title in the 1960s and the 1970s. They are unlikely to do so again any time soon. They were competing in the second division as recently as 2018/19, and the objective, for now, is stabilizing in the top tier. After a 14th-place finish in their first season back in the Bundesliga, the club hoped to kick on and climb up the table. Instead, they were almost relegated last term.
Koln survived by the skin of their teeth. They avoided automatic relegation only by beating last-placed Schalke 1-0 on the final day. That was only their eighth win all season but their third under Friedhelm Funkel, who replaced Markus Gisdol in April. Koln still had work to do, but a 5-2 aggregate victory over Holstein Kiel in the relegation play-off secured their top-flight status.
Steffen Baumgart was handed the managerial reins in the summer, and he has done a promising job so far. He always looked like a good fit for the job. Koln fans want to see energetic, intense and attacking soccer, and Baumgart has a track record of providing that. Koln have made more successful pressures than any other team in the division and is the second-most in the attacking third. That shows they have upped the aggression out of possession.
Results have been mixed up to now with three wins, four ties, and two defeats. Koln have become harder to play against and tougher to beat, and their narrow 3-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in August suggests Dortmund will not have everything their own way on Saturday.
There is a cliché in soccer about not changing a winning formula. The same applies to betting on the sport. It has become customary for this writer to tip a Dortmund win and both teams to score whenever Rose’s side takes to the field. For most of this season, that formula has been delivered. In their nine games to date, there have been seven Dortmund victories in which the opposition have scored.
Given the regularity with which it has happened, odds of +125 on an eighth such outcome in 2020/21 feel generous. That is especially the case when you look at Koln’s record. With Baumgart encouraging a front-foot approach, they have scored in all but one of their nine matches – including two goals against each of Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen. They will fancy their chances of breaching Dortmund’s backline given their defensive shakiness in recent weeks.
The home team, though, will probably have too much quality for a spirited Koln side. Erling Haaland could now be absent for the rest of the year, but Dortmund still have enough attacking firepower to win this game. Back another win without a clean sheet for BVB.
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|Borussia Dortmund vs Koln Information
|Borussia Dortmund vs Koln
|Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany
|Saturday, 30 October 2021, 9.30 AM EDT
|How to watch
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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