Two teams coming off of very divergent DFB Pokal results met at the famed Castropher Straße on Saturday evening.
A very entertaining contest might have swung the way of Pokal quarterfinalists VfL Bochum based on better chance creation.
In the end, however, two mid table sides split the difference with a 2-2 draw.
|Steffen Baumgart.||Photo: Sandro Halank, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0|
Neither Köln nor Bochum will find complaint with a point apiece from the Bundesliga's Saturday evening "Top-Spiel". Despite a performance deserving of a win, newly promoted Bochum will take a draw against a hungry Köln side that certainly pushed them to their limit in a fast and physical encounter.
Köln trainer Steffen Baumgart made seven changes to the XI that lost to Hamburger SV on penalties in the Pokal. The big news, confirmed by Baumgart earlier in the week, was that Marvin Schwäbe is the team's new #1 keeper. After nearly a decade as the team's first-choice backstop, Timo Horn is no longer the go-to man between the sticks for the Effzeh. In addition to the change of gloveman, Benno Schmitz, Salih Özcan, Ondrej Duda, Louis Schaub, and Anthony Modeste replaced Kingsley Ehizibue, Jannes Horn, Kingsley Schindler, Jan Thielmann, Sebastian Andersson, and Mark Uth.
The Kölner 4-1-3-2 had an odd feature to it. Duda played as a straight striker alongside Modeste. The Slovak had not featured in this role since Markus Gisdol's tenure in charge of die Geißböcke. Thomas Reis only made two changes to his XI, obviously pleased with the team that beat Mainz convincingly en route to the DFB Pokal quarterfinals. Konstantinos Stafylidis and Eduard Löwen replaced Cristian Gamboa and Patrick Osterhage. The 1848ers lined up in their usual 5-4-1.
An intense opening ten minutes looked to accord a slight advantage to the hosting Bochumers. Reis' men circulated the ball well and seemed to be in control. Clear cut chances weren't emerging yet, but one had the sense that they would soon. Shortly after the quarter-of-an-hour-mark, Gerrit Holtmann and Eduard Löwen got some good looks in. Köln had gotten a few balls forward in Duda's range, but the makeshift striker's ill-timed touch allowed the Bochum defense to put the brakes on him.
Holtmann finally got one past Schwäbe at the 25-minute-mark. The rather unusual play developing before the goal actually involved Bochum pouncing on the ball after a Köln throw in. New 1848 acquisition Jürgen Locadia was the one pouncing on the loose ball and supplying the assist. Baumgart was visibly disappointed on the sidelines after watching his team concede on such a simple counterattack. Locadia came close to doubling the advantage in the 34th. This time Schwäbe made a great save.
Two minutes later, it was Bochum's turn to be disappointed as their deserved and earned 1-0 lead evaporated on a flukish series of events off a corner. A bit of fortuitous pinball in the box saw the ball squirt out to a waiting Timo Hüber's. Parity was restored in the 36th on a very strange play. The hosts seem to lose focus and were eventually punished at the stroke of halftime. Florian Kainz hit Modeste through a disorganized defensive corps not holding the offside. Köln's French striker then lifted the ball over totally out-of-position VfL keeper Manuel Riemann for a 2-1 lead in the 45th.
Both teams came back onto the pitch turbocharged. Perhaps there was just a tad too much adrenaline flowing as there were many physical skirmishes and fouls that interrupted the flow for the first 20 minutes. Baumgart had clearly instructed his men to remain back and wait for precisely the right counterattack to deliver the decisive 3-1.
Instead, it was Bochum who drew back level. Two of Reis' substitutes--Sebastian Polter and Takuma Asano--combined after a long throw-in twenty minutes from time. The equalizing tally belonged to the "Japanese Jaguar". Osterhage, another one of Reis' substitutes, came closet to finding the winner in the 84th. Both teams appeared mostly content with a draw thereafter.
|16||K. Stafylidis ↪65|
|8||A. Losilla (C)|
|20||E. Rexhbecaj ↪82|
|27||M. Pantović ↪65|
|19||J. Locadia ↪56|
|17||G. Holtmann ⚽ ↪82|
|10||T. Asano ↩65 ⚽|
|22||C. Antwi-Adjej ↩82|
|40||S. Polter ↩56|
|2||C. Gamboa ↩65|
|6||P. Osterhage ↩82|
|2||B. Schmitz ↪80|
|4||T. Hübers ⚽|
|14||J. Hector (C)|
|11||F. Kainz ↪80|
|7||D. Ljubicic ↪65|
|21||L. Schaub ↪61|
|18||O. Duda ↪61|
|27||A. Modeste ⚽|
|13||M. Uth ↩65|
|19||K. Ehizibue ↩80|
|23||J. Horn ↩61|
|17||K. Schindler ↩80|
|29||J. Thielmann ↩61|