With seven goals and a clean sheet, the 1. FC Köln can return home from its first-round DFB Pokal match against BFC Preussen content that they advanced in the competition and can now shift focus to Saturday’s season opener against SV Darmstadt 98.
The avoidance of the notion of “winning” here is intentional.
Having drawn one of the two sixth-division clubs to reach the tournament, advancing to the second round was a minimal expectation. When you’re a Bundesliga club facing a Berlin League side, you’re supposed to win, no matter what. It doesn’t feel like victory, even when it’s among the most-lopsided score lines of the round. You just figure, “the other team must have been really over-matched,” and it’s hard to convincingly argue that’s an oversimplification.
For 45 minutes Saturday, it didn’t look like a first- versus sixth-division battle, nor one that was going to end 0:7. With Konstantin Rausch’s terrific direct free kick as the only score in the first three-quarters of an hour, the focus was not on the FC’s 0:1 lead. Instead, “poor chance-conversion” was the dominant theme through most of the first half, as many promising opportunities were simply missed.
Then, shortly before the half was to end, Milos Jojic got the ball to the goal line and sent it back toward the middle of the area. It was a sequence we’d seen several times already with different personnel playing the roles. What differed here was the finish. Instead of just another near-miss, Anthony Modeste tucked this one into the BFC goal to double the FC lead and suddenly lessening the impact of all the blown chances that preceded it.
Apparently coach Peter Stöger was not entirely satisfied with the two goals, however.
“Our coach wanted to see goals,” said Dominic Maroh of the team’s halftime discussions, “and we went ahead and scored them.”
They didn’t get them right away, though. The second half started a bit listlessly, lacking even the frequent big chances of the first half. It wasn’t until Stöger used all three substitutions in the 63rd minute – bringing Simon Zoller, Yuya Osako, and Marco Höger in for Modeste, Jojic, and Matthias Lehmann – that things started to heat up.
Another set piece brought the third goal, with Rausch again over the ball to start. This time, it was a corner kick in the 68th minute that just eluded the fist of BFC keeper Mateusz Mika, leaving an empty net for Maroh’s header.
The third goal seemed to signal to the hosts that the game was out of reach, which allowed their bodies to remember how tired they were.
And the FC took advantage.
Three minutes after the Maroh goal, Marcel Risse began his personal highlight reel. First he bolted into the right side of the area, received a pass from Leonardo Bittencourt, and hammered the 0:4 over BFC keeper Mateusz Mika. Four minutes after scoring himself, Risse skillfully lost a pair of defenders, the second of which tripped Risse to the turf. With no whistle for a penalty kick, Risse quickly got to his feet and lobbed a cross over to the head of Artjoms Rudnevs for the 0:5.
Osako collected the final two goals. Enough said.
Actually, no. Let’s take a moment for Osako here. Moments before he hammered home the 0:6 off the crossbar, he had received a pass from Bittencourt at the edge of the area and send a sharply struck ball goal-ward, drawing a save from Mika. Rudnevs collected the deflection on the opposite end of the area, but he found Osako for the 79th minute score.
Osako finished the scoring in the 88th minute, collecting a deflection himself for the goal. Zoller’s shot from the edge of the area was another well-struck volley that pinged off the crossbar straight down into the turf on the wrong side of the goal line and to Osako a few feet away. After eluding a pair of defenders with an arcing run-around, Osako’s shot went under Mika into the far side of the net.