Germany: Bundesliga
0 - 0
(0 - 0)
FC Köln
L. Pfeiffer (56)
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Köln and Stuttgart share the spoils in fiery 0-0 encounter

Baumgart's Köln failed to take advantage of Luca Pfeiffer and Pellegrino Matarazzo's dismissals as Schwabe and Müller were full value for earning their sides respective clean sheets.
After a narrow loss at home to misfiring Freiburg last time out, Stuttgart made the journey to Germany’s cathedral city to take on Steffen Baumgart’s Köln outfit on Matchday 4.

The visiting side had the first real shot on target when a 5th minute corner found Mavropanos. The former Arsenal player rose high to test Schwäbe who dealt with the headed effort however the referee had signalled for a foul in its process. Mathias Olesen’s praises were voiced by Köln manager Baumgart during the week’s build up to the game. Unfortunately for the young Luxembourger, a hefty collision with Mavropanos earlier forced the youngster off inside 15 minutes for the out of favour Slovak midfielder Ondrej Duda.

Despite a clear shortage of offensive creativity Köln were enjoying large spells of possession, but Stuttgart looked the far more threatening side in front of goal. Billygoats’ goalkeeper Marvin Schwäbe twice repelled the efforts of Stuttgart’s Silas Mvumpa – the first a fine save sprawling to his bottom right, with the second being an excellent demonstration of athleticism getting an outstretched right foot to flick the ball outside the upright to the disbelief of the Stuttgart forward. Jonas Hector should have done better when Duda worked set-piece freekick into the box however the unmarked Köln captain could only connect with thin air. The sides remained deadlocked at the interval.

Once more Stuttgart started the livelier of the two outfits – Silas once again foiled by some last ditch defending from Schwäbe and Hector. In what was a game of attrition from the first whistle, the theme continued into the second half as the unfortunate Jeff Chabot was forced to retire for Timo Hübers. The aforementioned Hübers soon found himself on the receiving end of a nasty tackle – Luca Pfeiffer today’s replacement for the wantaway Kalajdzic, lunged into the German centre half’s ankle receiving a straight red card from referee Osmers.

As the game approached the final 20 minutes, substitutes with fresh impetus replaced the weary legs of those on the field. Stuttgart then received their second red card of the afternoon although this time around it wasn’t a player. Manager Pellegrino Matarazzo, already incensed by the earlier Pfeiffer dismissal, was swiftly booked again leaving the American sitting in amongst the elated Köln fans in the RhineEnergie stands.

With ten to play, Mavropanos who had been heroic in his own end on one or two occasions today, almost put the Swabians ahead. Ultimately the Greek was denied by an excellent last gasp block from Hübers while Schwäbe could routinely smother the follow up. Four minutes of additional time were added, and a final chance fell to Jan Thielmann who unleashed a rocket, destined for the top corner but Florian Müller reacted sublimely to spring to his sides’ rescue in doing so securing a point – 0-0 it finished in what can only be described as a feisty affair.

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