Despite trailing early, the FC managed a victory in its second test of the summer in eastern Westphalia over DSC Arminia Bielefeld. A pair of Anthony Modeste goals gave the visitors a 2:1 lead at the break, but it was a late Marco Höger-Marcel Risse connection that provided the final 3:2 margin.
Because the FC had another 90 minutes worth of test match to follow the next day in the form of the HappyBet Cup, “rotation” was a key word for the day, with just three players — Timo Horn, Dominique Heintz, and Matthias Lehmann — playing both halves. Otherwise, coach Peter Stöger was consistent in deploying a three-man back line for both halves, seemingly indicating fans can expect to see the relatively new tactic play a much larger role than it had in Stöger’s first three seasons with the club.
Things got a bit dodgy early for Köln thanks to some questionable sportsmanship. In the eleventh minute, a Manuel Junglas shot from outside the area deflected off a few players and into an underpopulated area to Horn’s left, pitting the Olympic keeper in a footrace against Bielefeld’s top scorer Fabian Klos. Seeing he was not going to beat the striker to the ball, Horn slid to stop his momentum, while Klos turned away from Horn after making a touch that sent the ball in a direction away from the goal area. It appeared that Klos decided that rather than chasing the ball toward the corner flag to attempt to resume the attack, the better scoring opportunity would be to drag his foot on the ground to see if he could draw a whistle. Because the flop came a full step after turning away from Horn, it seemed unlikely to work, but the referee was somehow convinced.
Klos sent the ball to his left while Horn guessed to his left and Arminia led 1:0 early.
The hosts’ ill-gotten lead would not last long, however, as Milos Jojic sent a near-perfect ball from the corner toward the near post for Modeste to nod past former Eintracht Braunschweig keeper Daniel Davari with a glancing header.
Ten minutes later, Jojic made another nice play to dodge a defender a few steps outside the penalty area so he could send a pass over to Pawel Olkowski, who was running into a lot of open space to his right. Olkowski one-touched the ball back toward the center where Modeste used his foot to redirect it again past Davari, but was adjudged to have been in an offside position, keeping the match level.
But not for long.
At the half-hour mark, Bielefeld winger Christoph Hemlein headed a ball behind his own back line, setting Modeste into a high-speed pursuit of the ball with Bielefelders able to only watch from behind as the Frenchman’s second goal was shot from just outside the area past the diving Davari for the lead that would be held into the break.
As advertised, the second half started with eight new players on the pitch for the FC. And, as was the case in the first, it was Bielefeld getting the first goal of the second half.
In the 59th minute, Bielefeld’s 19-year-old attacker Keanu Staude delivered a highlight-package shot from just inside the corner of the penalty area, lacing the ball over everyone and into the far wall of the netting of the FC goal.
Both sides had their chances to break the deadlock, with both Horn and substituted-in Bielefeld keeper Wolfgang Hesl getting chances to show their wares.
In the 82nd minute, though, Lehmann send a ball across the turf to Marco Höger who backheeled it along to Marcel Risse on a rush up the right flank. After beating his mark to get into the area, Risse took his shot. Central defender
Julian Börner got just enough of a foot on the shot to redirect it away from Hesl, but not enough to clear his own goal, putting the FC ahead for good.
Bielefeld will open their 2. Bundesliga season on August 7, hosting Karlsruher SC.
The FC would head to Aachen to participate in a one-day, four-squad tournament Sunday, facing Spanish side Malaga CF for one half and then either Alemannia Aachen or Olympique Marseille, pending results of the “semifinal” round.