1. FC Köln Too Gracious a Host, Send Ingolstadt Home with a Point

Thoughts on the 1. FC Köln taking a point in a 1:1 draw with FC Ingolstadt:

How We Got There and What it Means

To avoid being unnecessarily disappointed with getting just a single point from Friday’s home match, we need to remember that we cannot think of FC Ingolstadt in simple terms of being a promoted side. The Schanzer arrived in Köln with the same eleven points their hosts would have, but also having yet to concede a goal or drop a point on their road, giving the guests a sparkling 3-0-0 record away from Audi Sportpark (not counting a cup loss at Unterhaching, that is).

So, Ingolstadt is a juggernaut, yeah?

Well, that’s also not exactly the truth either. They’d conceded only five goals in their first six games, and four of came in their 0:4 loss to Borussia Dortmund. Their three 1:0 road wins came through playing compact defense, conceding possession, and making their few opportunities count just enough, including the penalty won deep in added-time to get the result in Bremen.

Anthony Modeste’s strong header of a great Marcel Risse ball in the tenth minute of the match made the effzeh the first team to score at home against Ingolstadt this season.

When Marvin Matip equalized eleven minutes later, the effzeh became the first club to surrender a first-half goal to Ingolstadt this season.

Köln had a solid edge in time on the ball (59 to 41%) but struggled to create too many dangerous chances from it, but as Timo Horn said after the match, based on chances, “we should have won 3:1.”

Takeaways

Do we celebrate the meager victory of being the first to get points from a visiting Ingolstadt, while also running our unbeaten streak at home to a 14th game, or do we find concern in the inability to better convert on a few huge opportunities that should have, as the keeper said, given all three points to the effzeh?

Of course, if you’re going to talk about those big chances that went unconverted, it’s only fair to point out that Matip, after getting his goal, managed to get onto another corner, which he sent too high to cause damage. Sure, we can say we might should have won 3:1, but there was also the chance for Ingolstadt to come away with a 1:2, in that regard.

Because Ingolstadt played such a defensive-oriented game, it’s also difficult to know for sure what impact was made by replacing Pawel Olkowski in the defensive row with Marcel Risse. The Schanzer did not score from open play, nor did they create much from it, but they also weren’t really attacking down the flanks when they did come forward, relying instead of going through the middle and/or over the top.

Stock Watch

Rising – Yannick Gerhardt

With Kevin Vogt out, Gerhardt got a chance at his second start of the season and instead of being substituted at halftime, delivered for a full 90 minutes.

While he will still need to work on winning two-fights more consistently, Gerhardt was all over the field Friday night and was as secure with the ball as just about anyone on either side.

Gerhardt’s performance may not have been perfect, but it did show that the future of the effzeh defensive-midfield options is promising. The 21-year-old may even have bought himself a bit more consideration for extended use even after Vogt returns from his broken nose and concussion, especially if captain Matthias Lehmann cannot find his way back to past glory.

Falling – Yuya Osako

Frankly, I thought Osako had given plenty of reason Tuesday for someone else to be given a chance in his place Friday, so I was a bit surprised to see him in the starting formation an hour before kickoff.

After another underwhelming performance that saw the Japanese forward blow two huge opportunities in front of goal. It’s only fair to credit Ingolstadt keeper Ramazan Özcan with getting himself in the right position to deflect Osako’s shot high with his right shoulder, but Osako’s first big chance came with most of the goal unattended, leaving only the slight frame of Tobias Levels the only obstacle for the shot.

Levels didn’t have to move to earn the goal-line save.

“I should have scored a goal,” said Osako after the match. “I am sorry that I was unable to help the team.

Aren’t we all?

I continually fail to see Osako contributing much, outside of a few bright spots at the end of last season, while Stöger continues to trot him out there, so clearly I’m missing something. I also noted that the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger marked him at 2.5, which is as high a rating as they gave anyone. Hence, I expect we’ll continue to see Osako getting playing time.

But I expect to continue to be baffled as to what he’s bringing, while also wondering what Bård Finne does in training that makes it so easy to not give him a chance to help this offense get going.

Man of the Match

Risse had a fine game as a defender, and that’s not even cutting him a break for being a midfielder.

Let’s address the obvious item first. Risse’s pass to Modeste in front of goal was about as precise as you’d want, allowing the big fella to drive a header just under the crossbar. Tip of the cap to Modeste for a strong finish, but that play was created by the Kalker Kid.

In addition to his role on Köln’s goal, Risse was terrific in defense. Granted, Ingolstadt did not spend too much effort trying to create along the flanks, but when play arrived to his area of the field, Risse was more than just competent. Kicker has him winning 70% of his two-fights, which is a better rate than any of the other seven men who started on the back row can claim.

Risse’s versatility made possible today’s day-away-to-think for Pawel Olkowski. Hopefully, our regular guy took note of how Risse handled his business on the defensive end first and foremost.

Next?

After three matches in seven days, the effzeh get a full eight days before the next match, which takes them to Gelsenkirchen. Match day eight’s fight at Schalke 04 is set for next sunday at 6:30 a.m. PST (9:30 a.m. EST and 15:30 CET)

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