In what should have been a solid victory further entrenching a top-2 position a few games into the second half of the season turned into a shocking, loss-for-words 2-3 loss at SC Paderborn 07 last Friday. But the loss also spoiled the emotional return of Anthony Modeste after his contract battle with his former Chinese squad.
Anthony Modeste’s Emotional Return
Just 24 hours prior, FIFA and the Chinese FC announced that Anthony Modeste was allowed to play for Köln after they had signed him all the way back in November. With that ugly mess now behind them, it seemed like a huge boost to the squad in confidence and goal-scoring capabilities. It was insurance on the current season to secure a top-2 finish and a head-start to the squad in their eventual return to the 1. Bundesliga.
For this match at Paderborn, it was natural to see Modeste start on the bench in favor of Terrode and Cordoba. Both have performed quite well thus far, with Cordoba in particular finally scoring on the regular. Though the timing is ironic: Cordoba was essentially brought in to replace Modeste’s goal scoring pace, but never fully reached those expectations until they brought Modeste back to the team. And it was in fact Cordoba who scored first to put us up 1-0 in the 38’, a nifty little one-two volley-cross, volley-shot action from Dominick Drexler to Jhon.
Watching the match from my home office, things really got exciting in the 69’ when Modeste came on for Terrode. The last time we saw him, Modeste was being lifted up after finishing 5th in the Bundesliga to secure Europa League play. It was a huge smile on my face to see him play one again in this match now (I don’t even think the Chinese league is on any networks/streaming services in the States…no?) With our momentum and control in the game, I fully expected a goal but wasn’t expecting how soon it came. Barely 5 minutes in, Modeste gets a cross from Florian Kainz and slots it home casually from the outside right foot. An emotional celebration followed, with Modeste even succumbing to tears that lasted beyond the restart.
With the solid 2 goal lead, things were looking up. But then starting in the 80’, the wheels just fell off. In the final 10 minutes of that match Paderborn scored three goals, two of which were fantastic strikes. Bernard Tekpetey scored first, complete unmarked at the far post off a set piece. Just 6 minutes later Kai Pröger hit a magnificent strike from far outside the box. The dagger came two minutes into stoppage time from Markon Ritter, another insane shot from distance. Seriously, full credit to those last two goals.
Defensive lapses and unexplainable substitutions from Anfang have been common occurrences, but this match was especially frustrating to see it happen. Instead of being in 2nd place, just 2 points behind Hamburger SV, Köln finished the week 3rd and a full 5 points behind Hamburg and 2 points behind Union Berlin.
Effzeh have a chance to recover tomorrow at home. Anfang is going to have a tough choice for this next match against SV Sandhausen though. Terrode and Cordoba have the hot hand, but Modeste is match fit and against a cellar-dweller like Sandhausen, it might be the perfect time to give him more time with the squad and back up to speed. No matter, the squad I fully expect a thorough victory by the time I wake up, a 4am Pacific kick-off is too early for me.
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