Despite it being a road game…
Despite having scored zero goals (not counting the one off a penalty shot) in two league matches to date…
Despite not having added an offensive threat in the off-season…
Despite just about every single warning sign lingering over the weekend, it never really occurred to me that 1. FC Köln was going to straight-up LOSE their Monday night match in Aue.
Coming off a 2:1 victory in the opening round of the DFB tournament over SpVgg Unterhaching as well as the 2. Liga home opener which became a draw only through a bit of a fluky late goal, I was definitely feeling fairly optimistic that the Effzeh was finally ready to assert itself as a big-market team with the sort of young talent you’d expect of a club with the support it gets from its fans.
Further, Erzgebirge Aue was coming off a season in which it avoided a relegation playoff by a mere two points and had yet to score a goal (even via penalty!) in league play.
It all seemed it was setting up nicely for an away win (or, at least a draw) to start the rise to a proper place near the top of the table.
If you follow the team, you know what happened.
If you do not, you have probably figured it out by now.
Despite dominating the game in most measurables (time of possession, corner kicks, shots at goal, one-on-one battles won), it was a lopsided 2:0 loss in the only measure that really counts.
I hope I don’t need to clarify that statistic would be “goals scored.”
And the hosts didn’t even have the decency to let the game get a little ripe before clarifying for me it was maybe not going to go my way.
Only eight minutes after beginning, the game turned on its head when an Aue pass up the flank was headed goalward just past mid-field and into the path of Jakub Sylvestr who then found Fabian Müller speeding into the penalty area to the right of the goal unmarked as Kevin Wimmer had shifted over to help with Sylvestr on his approach to the goal because Kevin Pezzoni was straggling behind having been caught somewhat out of position.
Pezzoni was pretty much a punching bag for Effzeh fans between the time he was announced among the starting eleven. His contribution to the opening score only confirmed for many what they already had decided was going to be the case, which was that Pezzoni in central defense was going to be a problem for his own team.
If there is a way to analyze the offending play that lets Pezzoni off the hook, feel free to let me know. Doesn’t look great from here.
You may also want to inform coach Stanislawski and Pezzoni himself. I’m sure they’d appreciate the help.
At a Tuesday press conference, Stani came to the defense of Pezzoni, throwing out a classic cliche, stating how you “win as a team and lose as a team” and that they were not on the search for a “scapegoat” in the loss. The coach did admit that Pezzoni did not have his best day (“When you play bad, you play bad; that’s it.”), but was otherwise protective of the still-developing player, which is probably the right thing for a coach to do.
Let’s just hope Pezzoni stays away from Twitter for a while. “#Pezzoni” was trending strongly during the game, and very little of what can be found there will the sort of thing you’d want his mother to read.
So goes the interwebs…
The theme of the season so far seems to be that the Effzeh is strong enough to control play throughout the match, but lacks the power in attack to convert that dominance into goals. Further, the defense is some combination of young enough and/or slow enough to fall victim of quick counterattacking play.
All in all, none of this bodes well for the season. If no scoring threat emerges…what do we do? Continually hope for scoreless draws? Certainly would be enough to avoid relegation, but only just. Plus, the fans frankly deserve more. There are few teams getting the sort of fan support 1. FC Köln enjoys. The front office really should have addressed the lack of a proven striker during the transfer window, particularly in the wake of departures of Lukas Podolski, Milvoje Novakovic, Pedro Geromel, and now Michael Rensing (to Leverkusen, no less!). It’s hard to accept cries of poverty with the unloading of so much salary. It’s not too much to ask a reasonable talent is brought into the team to help put some goals on the scoreboard.
Unfortunately, with just days remaining in the transfer window and no public chatter of such action, we may be stuck hoping something changes for the better with the players we have.
Whatever the case, through thick or thin…my team…