A lot of momentum, little profit – but in the end the competition shoots 1. FC Köln to Europe: Steffen Baumgart’s team surprisingly stumbled in the final sprint of the Bundesliga, but will still play internationally in the coming season. FC lost 1-0 (0-1) to VfL Wolfsburg on the penultimate matchday and slipped down to seventh place.
Anthony Modeste was carried on the hands of the fans in the good tradition, even the pitch of the Cologne stadium and the goal nets were not safe from the crowds of fans. The images were dramatically similar to those of May 20, 2017, when 1. FC Köln returned to international business after 25 years. Subtle difference: This time Effzeh reached the European Cup despite a 0-1 (0-1) defeat against VfL Wolfsburg – thanks to support from rival Bayer Leverkusen.
“Before the season, nobody would have thought that we would see such pictures here,” said Thomas Kessler, head of licensing at 1. FC Köln, on Sky about the peaceful space storm. “If the first disappointment about the defeat is gone, the boys can reward themselves a little today,” explained Kessler, who five years ago was still being celebrated extensively by the fans in the stadium as an FC professional.
At least these images were not repeated on Saturday: The team quickly disappeared into the dressing room, they wanted to concentrate on the last Bundesliga game next Saturday at VfB Stuttgart, announced stadium spokesman Michael Trippel.
The Conference League is safe for FC, which has slipped down to seventh place, because pursuer TSG Hoffenheim lost 4-2 to Leverkusen. But it could still go into the Europa League like in 2017, but the competition has to play along.
1. FC Köln qualifies for Europe
The fact that FC needs more support is not least due to an ex-Cologne player: Yannick Gerhardt (43rd) scored for Wolfsburg and ended the hosts’ series after four wins. “It’s perfect for me: I scored and FC are playing in Europe,” said a happy Gerhardt.
The fact that Steffen Baumgart’s team from Cologne has now qualified for European business is remarkable: in May of last year, the team, which has hardly changed since then, only prevented relegation in the relegation.
The whole city had been looking forward to this game for days, and according to the club, they could have sold 200,000 tickets. 50,000 finally came in, the south curve discussed future trips to Europe with a choreo – and the organizers had installed fences around the field as a precaution to prevent a storming of the pitch after the final whistle – which didn’t even begin to work.
Cologne pressed from the start, Wolfsburg didn’t get into the game at all at first, the first ten minutes took place almost exclusively in and around the visitors’ penalty area.
Schmitz hits the post for Cologne
Cologne could have scored twice already: Modeste’s header defused Pavao Pervan in the Wolfsburg goal (3′), Benno Schmitz’ shot hit the post (6′). It was only after 20 minutes that Wolfsburg showed up in front of goal from time to time, but without becoming dangerous.
Nevertheless, the game was now more balanced, as the break approached, Cologne suddenly looked tired after the spirited opening phase – and Wolfsburg scored.
The break then helped the Cologne team to pick up new momentum, because they ran at it in the second half as well. Florian Kainz (53rd/59th) and Modeste (69th/74th) each missed twice. The game was at times as one-sided as in the early stages, the audience stood, but continued to wait for the goal – in vain.
1. FC Cologne – VfL Wolfsburg: The voices of the game
Steffen Baumgart (coach Cologne): “It’s a bit difficult for me to feel euphoric about seventh place. Of course I’m happy that we’re playing in at least one international qualifier. But when I lose a game like that, it annoys me at first. I don’t feel like celebrating today but when I look at the table you can see me grinning inwardly. I congratulated my team on their performance, they didn’t do much wrong.”
Florian Kohfeldt (Wolfsburg coach): “It’s a huge thing for Cologne that they’re playing in Europe again. And it’s a huge thing for us that we won this game. We had to work hard for it, it was an important, good away win. Whether it was deserved, let’s see let’s face it. But we had the right mentality on the pitch.”
1. FC Cologne – VfL Wolfsburg: The data of the game