1. FC Köln has continued its remarkable early form under the leadership of the new coach Steffen Baumgart. Against VfL Bochum there was brilliant offensive football and a 2-1 (0-0) success that was more convincing than the result suggests. “It was a well-deserved win,” said Baumgart, “we saw a very, very dominant game in which we always played bravely forward.” VfL coach Thomas Reis said several times in his analysis “we knew” because Bochum knew what Cologne would do – but his players couldn’t find any means against it. A little as if the people of Cologne were a force of nature. And that afternoon, at least, they were.
The part began with a drum solo. After an exhibition-ready counterattack by the Cologne team on the right wing and a flat, precise cross from Benno Schmitz, the ball came to the rebounded center forward Anthony Modeste, who placed the ball in the center of the post from three meters. The people of Cologne reacted unmoved and with an intimidating force, which, through skillful positional play, led to the waves rolling towards the Bochumers from all sides. In the 15th minute, the Cologne anthem “Wenn et Trömmelche jeht” rang out, a clear sign of a goal for the home team, which ran for a complete verse and paid tribute to the goalscorer Dejan Ljubicic – but then the video referee reported from the other Cologne On the Rhine side a handball by the goalscorer and the cheers gave way to the VAR hangover.
How would Cologne cope with two such blows in the neck? Surprisingly good. The tempo football continued, the spectators didn’t have to whip their team forward, they did it all by themselves. Most notable: courageous yet careful dribbles by Ellyes Skhiri, sometimes against two Bochumers; Florian Kainz ‘direct play as a ball distributor in the front midfield, Benno Schmitz’ wing runs, and if necessary, coach Baumgart himself quickly made the ball before the throw-in. From the stands, half of which were allowed to be filled this time, there was a sense of gratitude to be able to be there again – and to watch your own team play a football as it has not been for a very long time.
Only one defeat in 29 duels: Bochum remains Cologne’s favorite opponent
The only thing that could be blamed for the Cologne team at this stage was the lack of yield. They even started to act a bit too ball and combination in love and miss the moment to finish. That helped the guests into the game. The Bochumers had only come to breathe deeply for a good half hour when they were awarded a throw-in or free kick. From the 30th minute, however, the guests found a better position on the defensive, and the counter-situations became more promising. Even if there was no clear opportunity, it was seen several times that Baumgart football also offers risks.
With the half-time break there was a break in the game of Cologne. As if they were thinking that it was incomprehensible that it was 0-0 after such a well-designed first half, doubts crept into the minds of the players. The player openings by Rafael Czichos were no longer as precise, the pass paths were better closed, and then Bochum attacked. A galvanized header from Sebastian Polter dropped just behind the crossbar on the goal net (51.). Would Cologne’s favorite opponent, who had only won one game in 28 attempts in the cathedral city by Saturday, be able to play? Not really. From the 63rd minute, the Cologne team increased the number of strokes again, the actions became more precise, and the chances came every five minutes, with Modeste hitting the post (73rd) and shooting just wide of the goal (77th). The arena was seething.
Feinfuß Louis Schaub makes the decision
It took a technically demanding moment to bring the conditions on the lawn to the scoreboard: After winning the ball in midfield and quickly switching, the ball came to the wing to Kainz, whose sharp flank was pushed into the corner by substitute Louis Schaub with the right full span (82.).
A few minutes later – there was still nothing dangerous coming from Bochum – two other substitute players came up trumps, practically following the same carving pattern as in the 1-0: Tomas Ostrak stopped a long wing change relaxed in the air, saw the teenager Tim Lemperle starting in the free space, who put the ball into the net with a ball contact (90. + 1). The 2-0 win was the decision, and the fact that the former Cologne-based Simon Zoller was running results cosmetics for Bochum with the last action of the afternoon (90 + 4) should ultimately even be helpful so that the Cologne team stay grounded and their dreams do not become oversized again – as is usually the case when the little drumstick can be heard.