Germany: Bundesliga
7 - 1
(5 - 1)
FC Köln
L. Maina (9), S. Tigges (15), S. Tigges (21), E. Skhiri (30), D. Huseinbasic (36), E. Skhiri (54)
N. Füllkrug (38), M. Friedl (76)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Köln destroy Bremen in "cathedral city massacre"

In an absolutely shocking result at Köln's RheinEnergieStadion, Steffen Baumgart's 1. FC Köln demolished visiting SV Werder Bremen in a match that featured eight goals. 
Considered relegation candidates by many after they concluded calendar year 2022 with three straight losses and six games winless on-the-spin, Steffen Baumgart's 1. FC Köln made a profound statement in the first Bundesliga "Top-Spiel" of the new calendar year. Steffen Tigges and Ellyes Skhiri both recorded braces in a 7-1 demolition of visiting SV Werder Bremen. The result pulls Köln up to mid-table, just one point behind Bremen in 10th place.

Köln trainer Steffen Baumgart made the rather unorthodox move of revealing his entire starting XI and tactics at a Thursday press conference. SV gaffer Ole Werner played matters closer to the vest, but ultimately furnished few surprises with the essentially the same safe set he lined up with prior to the World Cup break. Only Niklas Stark replaced the stricken Amos Pieper. Marvin Ducksch and Niclas Füllkrug prepared to wreak their usual havoc up front.

Such havoc did not emerge in the opening minutes, with neither Ducksch nor Füllkrug being especially aggressive on the press. Overall, the Hanseatic guests did not appear to be in the game. They were made to pay nine minutes in when the Rhineland hosts scored the opening goal. A poorly executed set-piece enabled die Geißböcke to roar back on a counter. Florian Kainz, Skhiri, and a couple of propitious bounces eventually saw the ball land with Linton Maina, who finished cleanly from close-range on the right.

Some seven minutes later, the hosts capitalized on another Bremen mistake to double the advantage. Ducksch, who had committed the error on the 9th minute free-kick, sent a pass stray off a throw-in. Kainz ran the counter this time, servicing Tigges wide open in space. The Effzeh striker had an easy finish for the 2-0 in the 16th. Tigges had a brace shortly after that. A bad backless from Mitchell Weiser left SV keeper Jiri Pavlenka well off his line. Tigges was the one to have the confidence to chip in the 3-0 from about 50 meters out.

As if things hadn't gotten ridiculous enough, the cathedral city side added two more goals before Bremen could grab their bearings. Skhiri banged home the 4-0 at the half-hour-mark after Tigges and Maina sliced through the defensive ranks. Summer fourth-tier-signing Denis Huseinbasic earned his incredible third league goal of the season with the 4-0 in the 36th. Maina and Tigges were once again involved in the build-up. Two minutes later, Bremen caught Köln napping on a corner. Füllkrug pulled a goal back in the 38th.

Having seen six goals scored before the half, both teams understandably pulled back after Füllkrug's 1-5. The second half was, also understandably, often played at half-pace. There would still be more goals. Skhiri completed a brace with a bulge of the back-of-the-net in the 54th. Maina forced Marco Friedl into an own-goal on the 76th. Match official Robert Schröder mercifully concluded affairs by blowing the whistle without adding any injury time.

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