Thomas Tuchel has presided over Dortmund's best performance in the first half of a season for five years. - © © imago
Thomas Tuchel has presided over Dortmund's best performance in the first half of a season for five years. - © © imago
Bundesliga

Köln loss just a bump in the road for reborn Dortmund

Fortunately for Borussia Dortmund, there was a only a slight echo of last season's Matchday 17 defeat to SV Werder Bremen in their final competitive outing of the calendar year against 1. FC Köln on Saturday afternoon.

The 2-1 scoreline was the same, but that is where the similarities end. While BVB finished the 2014/15 Hinrunde in the relegation zone, they go into the new year in second place, eight points behind Bundesliga leaders FC Bayern München.

'A team of winners'

'We weren't fresh enough'

'A greatHinrunde'

Saturday's setback in the Domstadt aside, Dortmund can look back on 2015 with pride rather than disappointment. BVB rallied at the turn of the year to climb out of the relegation zone, eventually qualifying for the Europa League via the play-offs after finishing seventh in the Bundesliga, and reached the DFB Cup final. Now they are challenging for honours on all three fronts.

"It's been a great Hinrunde for us, even if today's result detracts from that somewhat," affirmed Dortmund captain Mats Hummels on his way out of the stadium. Given the club's about-turn in fortunes, however, perhaps 'remarkable' would be a more apposite description.

Tobias Gonscherowski/ Christopher Mayer-Lodge