It’s fairly common for the phrase “1. FC Köln” and related nicknames to be used as shorthand for what is actually just one of many teams. While we focus somewhat exclusively on the happenings around the professional Bundesliga side, there is also a second squad that plays in the lower leagues and a complete of system of youth squads that go from U8 (under eight-years-old) all the way up through the U19 side.
And that’s just the guys!
In case you didn’t know, there is also a top women’s team, a second squad, and a series of youth-development teams, though not quite as robust as the system for the males.
Maybe you had caught word that there was a women’s team, but did you know that the effzeh ladies were playing their first-ever season in the (Allianz) women’s Bundesliga after being promoted at the end of last season?
Following Sunday’s match-day-five 1:1 draw with SC Sand, those very ladies have their first-ever Bundesliga point!
And now that I’ve discovered that you can watch match highlights from the league on DFB.de, I’m going to give a bit of a recounting of the matter.
After losing their first four matches of the season, the effzeh ladies headed south to Willstätt, which is nearer to Strasbourg, France than it is to any German city of notable size (nearly an hour by car to Karlsruhe).
SC Sand was promoted to the women’s Bundesliga the season before our ladies were, but had started the season with six points in four matches and were sitting comfortably in the middle of the table when the effzeh came calling.
The hosts got their goal first and got it early.
It was the 16th minute of the match in which defender Julia Zirnstein sent an incredibly long pass forward.
When the ball finally landed, it had flown over the entirety of the Köln team and into the path of striker Nina Burger, who used an incredibly well-struck first-touch volley to beat keeper Laura Giuliani and give Sand an early lead.
Just five minutes later, the effzeh had a great chance to equalize when Anna Gerhardt ran unchecked down the left flank deep into Sand territory . . .
and then slid the ball all the way across to the right side of the penalty area, where Yvonne Zielinski had plenty of space to fire a shot. The effort made it through and onto target, but was on the wrong side of the post.
To be honest, I wasn’t going to include this highlight in my telling of the tale, except for two things.
I wanted to let everyone know that, yes, Anna Gerhardt is related to Yannick. Seventeen-year-old Anna follows in the footsteps of her older brother not only in having landed at the same football club, but also in national-team aspirations, as both Gerhardts have been nominated for Germany youth sides.
- The red thing on the left side of the picture in which Gerhardt is making her run is, indeed, part of a bouncy house. That is, in addition to the corn fields surrounding the stadium, there is a bouncy house available for the kids. As a football romantic and father of two young boys, I suddenly want to go to a match at SC Sand (assuming there are beers and stadium sausages available in that building right behind the bouncy house).
Things appeared to be about to go very poorly for the effzeh in the 34th minute. After being set free by a nice pass along the left flank, Burger streaked forward into Köln’s defensive third as the defense scrambled to get into place. As Burger approached the right side of the penalty area, Nicole Bender lost her footing and fell to the turf, leaving a clear path for Burger. But before Burger could take aim at the effzeh goal . . .
Tugba Tekkal flew into the scene with a desperate challenge that ended up sending the Austrian national player flying and drawing a whistle from referee Sandra Stolz.
But because you already know the final score, you know something interesting must have happened at this point.
Anne van Bonn put a low shot from the point about as near to the post as she could have, but Laura Giuliani not only went the right direction, but got all the way over to be able to get her right glove on the ball and send it harmlessly past the goal line on the other side of the post.
A few minutes on the other side of halftime, spectators were treated to one of the game’s more-rare events. SCS keeper Kristina Kober handled a back-pass from a teammate, providing Köln an indirect free kick from inside the penalty area.
After a light touch of the ball from Zielinski, Lise Munk attempted to go over the right side of the wall, but was unable to clear the shoulder of the right-most SCS player.
Still trailing by one, the effzeh was again kept withing a goal by the work of Giuliani in goal. A cross from deep to Giuliani’s left bounded all the way to her right, where Isabelle Meyer had nearly the entire goal at which to shoot.
Moments later, it was again Giuliani to the rescue with another point-blank stop, this time on Burger.
As far as I can tell from the highlights and commentary, SC Sand went a bit into a defensive shell at some point, which set the scene for the 82nd minute counterattack that brought home the point.
A goal kick from Sand’s Kristina Kober sent the ball to midfield, almost directly at the feet of Nina Ehegötz, who wasted no time sending a ball down the right side for Marie Pyko. Pyko ran onto the ball, took one touch, and sent a low cross into the area for a player I believe was Christina Julien, but can’t say for sure because the video and lack of a full team sheet leave it a mystery.
Anyhow . . . Julien managed to redirect the ball onto goal, where Kober stopped but could not hold it.
The story ends with Anna Gerhardt closing the distance to that fumbled ball well before Kober could recover enough to make even the slightest bit of difference.
And, again, the first (Allianz Frauen) Bundesliga point in 1. FC Köln history.
COME ON EFFZEH!
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