The 1. FC Köln cruised through their first test match of the 2016 winter break Saturday, downing 2. Bundesliga side MSV Duisburg 6:0. Anthony Modeste delivered twice from the penalty spot, becoming the only player to snag more than one goal from the test played before an empty Franz Kramer stadium.
Peter Stöger started the match with a new-look back line in front of goalkeeper Timo Horn. Matthias Lehmann started in central defense in place of Dominic Maroh, who missed training late in the week with a cold, and Filip Mladenovic got his effzeh debut starting at left back where Jonas Hector would typically be.
Kevin Vogt went it alone as a single pivot in a 4-1-4-1 arrangement. Leonardo Bittencourt and Simon Zoller were out on the wings. Milos Jojic and Yuya Osako paired between the guys on the flank and behind lone striker Modeste.
The first goal of the match arrived via a series of quick passes to move the ball from the 1. FC Köln defensive half into the Duisburg penalty area. Zoller sent the ball across the center line for Modeste while avoiding an MSV tackle. Modeste played the ball back to Osako and turned to run with Zoller as the effzeh attack advanced. Osako played it back to Modeste; Modeste gently played back to Jojic. Jojic played through for Zoller. Zoller touched the ball just into the corner of the penalty area before hitting a well-directed shot into goal near the far post.
A pair of minutes later, Osako sent Modeste behind the Duisburg defense with a nice pass on the break. Only Thomas Meißner had a chance at getting to the ball before the effzeh striker, but the Zebras’ goalkeeper missed on hit chance at the ball, instead taking Modeste down. And unlike his last spot-shot, the Frenchman converted the chance.
The third goal was tapped into goal by Osako’s shin after a sharp cross from near the edge of the penalty area drew Meißner into defending it, but the ball deflected right toward the on-rushing Osako, who rotated his body to redirect the ball away from the MSV keeper and into goal.
The final goal of the first half was another product of sharp passing while moving quickly through the offensive half. This time, it was a give-and-go between Modeste and Bittencourt that ended with Bittencourt being taken out by a tackle just inside the area. Modeste went to the right side for a second time from the spot. Meißner went the right way this time, but was unable to get to the low laser-shot.
With a 4:0 lead, Stöger made a full change of the team at halftime.
Young keeper Daniel Mesenholer, in line to contend for the top job if and when Timo Horn departs, went between the posts. Mergim Mavraj and Frederik Sørensen centered the back line with Jonas Hector to their left and Pawel Olkowski on their right.
Yannick Gerhardt, ostensibly also in line for a full-time gig in the midfield, got the chance to go it alone as the only holding midfielder. U-19 attacking midfielder Salih Özcan took over on the right flank opposite Dusan Svento. 19-year-old Marcel Hartel, who has become a regular with the FC’s second-squad in the Regionalliga this season, teamed with Bard Finne in the two central midfield slots. Philipp Hosiner replaced Modeste as the lone striker.
Despite his striker status, Hosiner deferred to Finne for the fifth goal of the day. Gerhardt’s grounded cross made it safely to Hosiner near the far post of the Duisburg goal, but with oncoming defenders and being at an awkward angle to the goal, Hosiner declined the shot and instead found Finne. After seeing the young Norwegian’s finish of the 5:0, perhaps MSV Duisburg will increase their interest in acquiring Finne this January.
Sidebar: If you saw the highlights, can you let me know if you heard someone yell, “LECK MICH!” (“Eat me!”, though literally “Lick me!” which is funnier) after Finne’s goal?
The 29 minutes that followed Finne’s goal was the longest stretch of time in the match without a score. The drought was broken thanks to yet another nice decision and ball by Hosiner. The Austrian played a nice ball into the area for a sprinting Hartel. The Germany U-19 player demonstrated a precise shot, scoring into the tight space between Marcel Lenz and the near post.
The next test match for the 1. FC Köln comes Tuesday, when they will face their final 2. Bundesliga opponent FSV Frankfurt. As was the case Saturday, the test will be closed to the public.