Germany: Bundesliga
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FC Köln
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Köln's relegation draws nearer after goalless draw with Freiburg

Despite some of the most audible and consistent support from any Bundesliga FanKurve over the course of the entire season, relegation threatened 1.FC Köln were unable to score a goal against SC Freiburg in Saturday evening's Bundesliga "Top-Spiel". 

A point gained from a 0-0 draw allows Germany's cathedral city side to cling to a very slim hope of reaching the relegation-promotion playoff spot. The Domstädter need significant help in tomorrow's fixtures if they hope to avoid official relegation this weekend. 

Timo Schultz's Effzeh did about all they could against a superior SC Freiburg side at home on Saturday evening. At the end of the evening, however, relegation-threatened 1. FC Köln simply weren't able to supplied the final punch in front of the SCF goal. A goalless draw does the Bundesliga's 17th-placed side very little good in their quest to avoid the drop this weekend. 

Schultz made just one change to the side that initially rolled out against Mainz last week. Steffen Tigges made way for Linton Maina in the starting XI. The formation shifted from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 with Maina taking Faride Alidou's place on the left-wing. Alidou moved up to the lead striker position while Luca Waldschmidt (previously in the ten slot) worked as a short-striker behind him. 

Streich made two changes to the XI he deployed against Wolfsburg last week. Lukas Kübler took over for the suspended Kiliann Silldillia. Striker Lucas Höler also took the place of Nicolas Höfler. The SCF gaffer, too, employed a major tactical switch. The 3-4-3 from the previous round turned into a 3-3-2-2. Höler, Rolland Sallai, Vicenzo Grifo, and Michael Gregoritsch all worked up front. 

A races sell-out crowd at the RheinEnergieStadion did its level best to compel their team forward. Köln were the more active side in the opening quarter-of-an-hour, producing one half-scoring-chance for Alidou. Freiburg punched back for a few minutes until the game settled into a midfield stalemate as the half-hour-mark approached. The game wasn't exactly the best from an optical perspective. 

Some decent ideas led to chances for Alidou and Jan Thielmann before the first-half was out. The finishing quality from the Bundesliga's second-to-last-placed side nevertheless wasn't anywhere near good enough to warrant a half-time lead. Egged on by a crowd that grew louder and louder, die Geißböcke did kept the pressure on after the restart, yet still couldn't break past the Breisgauer. 

Höler squandered an excellent opportunity to put the guests ahead in the 67th. Four minutes later, the cathedral city side themselves failed from close range. The recently subbed on Tigges set up Alidou perfectly in front of goal. The Eintracht Frankfurt loanee failed directly in front of goal. Alidou would do a much better job of testing SCR keeper Noah Atubolu in the 83rd. Still, the effort would not find the back of the net. No further chances from the hosts would.

Köln require significant help in tomorrow's fixtures if they wish to maintain any hope of attaining the relegation playoff place. The Sunday opener between Union Berlin and VfL Bochum must not end in a draw. Heidenheim must also either defeat or draw Mainz in the round's capper. Even if those two results break Köln's way, chances that Schultz's side can pull off a great escape are very low. 

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