Lots of goals, a loud stadium – but no violence: a week after the riots in Nice, 1. FC Köln got their hoped-for “peaceful football festival” on the European stage.
Steffen Baumgart’s team won a wild game 4-2 (2-0) against 1. FC Slovácko from the Czech Republic on the second day of the Conference League.
“Affengeil” was the feeling, said Baumgart on the TV station “RTL”: “It’s nice that you’re back after a 2-2 draw and, in my opinion, have played confidently again and again.”
Sargis Adamyan (10th) and Florian Dietz (42nd) gave FC the lead against an opponent who was clearly inferior at the beginning. Jan Kalabiska (49′) and Milan Petrzela (52′) quickly equalized, Dejan Ljubicic (65′, penalty kick/73′) scored twice to win.
The encounter, which was actually not particularly explosive, was upgraded to a risky game by UEFA under the impressions of the Cologne duel at OGC Nice (1: 1) – which ultimately seemed like symbolic politics. The small guest club only brought around 200 fans with them late Thursday evening, and as expected, everything remained quiet in the home stands in front of 47,700 spectators.
Cologne’s lineup as a risk
Baumgart’s statement, however, was a risk. In captain Jonas Hector, Timo Hübers, Ellyes Skhiri and Florian Kainz, four top performers initially took a seat on the bench – for FC it was the eleventh game in just under seven weeks.
The first few minutes proved Baumgart right. FC started tight and after a corner Adamyan completed for an early lead. Shortly before the break, Dietz was also successful after a corner kick, but in between Cologne kept the opponent in play with simple turnovers. Marvin Schwäbe had to save twice (34th/43rd) – but was twice powerless in the double strike after the break.
Baumgart brought Skhiri and Hector against the Czechs around former Leverkusen player Michal Kadlec. Although order did not really return, Cologne became more purposeful. Ljubicic got the decisive penalty kick out himself – and scored again a little later.