Well, it’s not quite Las Vegas, but it appears a good time was had by all in Bergheim where the 1. FC Köln made their Lukas Podolski Sportpark debut a goal-rich affair, scoring seven and conceding once from the penalty spot in the club’s first non-Sin City action since the end of the regular season.
I didn’t see or hear the match. I didn’t even follow it via FC Köln Live. I certainly didn’t attend the match, though I think I would have tried had I been in the area.
Being left to guess a little bit as to how players were arranged, particularly at right back, here’s who started the first half:
Patrick Helmes (5th and 30th minutes) and Maxi Thiel (29th) contributed the guests’ portion of the first-half scoring. Berheim Nouredine Zaanani drew a penalty shot which he converted himself to make the halftime score 1:3.
Coach Peter Stöger changed ten of eleven players for the second half, sending out something like this:
Excepting that, instead of a shadowy, supernatural presence, 18-year-old Daniel Mesenhöler replaced Timo Horn for the second half
Now, you can see that Thomas Kessler entered the match after the half, according to my “Wunschelf” image above, ja? It would be completely natural to think I’ve simply erred and put the wrong player in the wrong spot. I wouldn’t blame you.
But Kessler DID play at striker in the second half, due to a hand injury that would have made goalkeeping a not-so-fun adventure.
And, unless the website is having a bit of a laugh, ‘Kess’ scored a goal!
And I do not mean an own goal, either.
I’m fairly certain this was the keeper’s first go at playing striker, at least for the Effzeh, which would likely put him on a very, very short list of goalkeepers who scored a goal in their debut at a position other than goalkeeper.
Clearly, the team trip to Las Vegas was inspirational in many ways.
In addition to Kessler’s 65th minute score, Maurice Exslager (48th & late?) and soon-to-be MSV Duisburger Fabian Schnellhardt (83rd directly via corner kick) found the net.
As if watching a goalkeeper score in a match with eight goals total weren’t enough entertainment on a reportedly summer-like evening, the players signed autographs and posed for pictures after the match for some of the 1,200 fans in attendance.
There are a few photos attached to the club’s match report, but if you want to see a few more, head to FC Bergheim’s Facebook site, where they have a 21-image album for your viewing pleasure.
Tomorrow, the coolest club in the world will be host at ETB Schwarz-Weiß Essen for the second of three friendly matches in a three-day span.
Kessler as the lone striker? He’s unstoppable! Maybe Kessler and Finne? Think of the possibilities!