In their final test match of the winter break, the 1. FC Köln downed Vfl Bochum 2:1 on a frigid Wednesday night at Franz Kremer Stadium.
Jhon Cordoba delivered both FC goals in the match’s first quarter-hour, reminding everyone of the torrid pace with which he closed 2018, contributing five goals in the FC’s final six matches of the year.
While we will all hope Cordoba will continue his offensive surge, the test also gave a few glimpses at big changes for the FC. Simon Zoller was on the pitch, but in blue and white as a member of the Bochum attack. Newcomer Florian Kainz (from Werder Bremen and signed into 2022) made his match debut as an FC player, joining fellow newcomer Johannes Geis (from Schalke 04 on a “show me” basis until the end of the season) in the starting eleven.
The first corner of the match led to the first score. Bochum had little trouble finding (the gloveless and short-sleeved) Geis’ delivery on the set piece, but their headers didn’t clear the ball much further than the edge of the area. Niklas Hauptman, facing away from the Bochum goal, flipped the ball back over a few defenders to where Cordoba was ready. The born-again offensive threat volleyed a lob over VfL keeper Manuel Riemann to give the FC a lead before even five minutes had elapsed.
Five minutes after assisting Cordoba, Hauptmann had a huge chance to grab a goal for himself when a cross found him directly in front of the Bochum goal. The young midfielder’s header, however, was driven into the ground right in front of Riemann rather than goal-ward and was ultimately controlled by the VfL.
In the 13th minute, Cordoba took a pass, wheeled around defender Patrick Fabian, and bolted toward the Bochum goal. Because Fabian could not stay with Cordoba, left back Danilo Soares interceded just in time to foul Cordoba at the edge of the area. Marcel Risse’s succeeding free kick was far too low to clear the Bochum wall. Geis, who had been near the free kick spot, took a crack at the rebound from the penalty arc, but his shot was also deflected. Fortunately for Cordoba, the deflection came his way, and he calmly guided the ball past Riemann from point-blank range.
The Colombian had an enormous opportunity to complete the hat trick in the 22nd minute when a Risse cross glanced off the head of Simon Terodde and found him again to Riemann’s right. The Bochum keeper was quick enough to the turf to send Cordoba’s shot past the goal line for a corner, however.
Riemann came up big again for Bochum when Simon Terodde was awarded a penalty late in the first, keeping the deficit at two by stopping a less-than-impressive attempt from the spot.
Salih Özcan and Serhou Guirassy entered the fray to start the second half, replacing Hauptmann and (the also gloveless and short-sleeved) Terodde.
After being little more than a spectator for the first hour, Timo Horn had to keep Bochum off the board in the 62nd minute, turning away a pair of chances in quick succession from Tom Weilandt and Silvere Ganvoula.
Five minutes after being denied from close, Ganvoula got Bochum on the board with a shot from outside the area, beating a diving Horn to his right to get Bochum to within a goal.
Christian Clemens, Matthias Bader, Darko Churlinov, Jannes Horn, and Frederik Sörensen all managed a little playing time in the final quarter-hour of the match, keeping Bochum from finding the equalizer.
“The first half was really good. We could have and should have scored two goals more. The guys managed things quite neatly and engagingly,” said Anfang after the match. “We came into the second half more sluggishly and then had a phase that was okay before it became difficult at the end while Bochum did well. It was important that many of the guys got playing time.”
The FC’s quest for promotion gets its restart in Berlin with a Thursday night tilt with Union.