20th matchday: Cologne is alive: Eintracht loanee Alidou scores against Frankfurt

There was pure happiness among the fans, players and coach of 1.

20th matchday: Cologne is alive: Eintracht loanee Alidou scores against Frankfurt

There was pure happiness among the fans, players and coach of 1. FC Köln. With their first win with Timo Schultz on the sidelines, Cologne made a significant comeback in the fight against relegation from the Bundesliga.

After the 2-0 (0-0) win against Eintracht Frankfurt, FC, who were not allowed to strengthen in the winter due to the FIFA transfer ban, are four points ahead of the direct relegation places.

“This should give us a boost for the next few weeks,” said goalscorer Jan Thielmann on Sky after only their third win of the season. "We have difficult games over Carnival, so we can use the day today, be happy and then prepare." Schultz's FC professionals were given Sunday off.

Faride Alidou, on loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, scored the first goal in the 68th minute. Thielmann (80th) followed up. “In the end, I think it was deserved,” said Thielmann.

For Frankfurt, where full-back Niels Nkounkou saw yellow-red right before conceding a goal, the first defeat in 2024 was a bitter setback in the hoped-for race to catch up to the Champions League ranks. With a win, coach Dino Toppmöller's team, which was further weakened by yellow-red for Niels Nkounkou (66th) and Tuta (83rd), could have moved within three points of fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund.

Cologne wants to show itself

After the home defeats by Mainz and Darmstadt at lunchtime, the Cologne team at least went into the game with the certainty that they would not be able to slip into a direct relegation zone. Schultz did not propose a change after the 1-1 draw in Wolfsburg. Frankfurt's Dino Toppmöller made two changes to his team, including Ellyes Skhiri joining the team after his return from the Africa Cup. The Tunisian had played for FC in the previous four years and was the top scorer in the previous season with seven goals.

The Frankfurt team started surprisingly inhibited, the Cologne team, on the other hand, gave full throttle from the start. In the 5th minute, Dejan Ljubicic unfortunately hit the ball with his shin from six meters, nine minutes later national goalkeeper Kevin Trapp deflected a shot from Jan Thielmann from a tight angle with his fingertips next to the goal.

FC, who started the game with a pitiful twelve goals from 19 games, at least showed a significant improvement in their forward play. If he came anywhere near the goal, the opportunity was missed. For example, when Ljubicic shot the ball far over after a nice individual performance (39th). But the Austrian at least tried again and again; his shot from 18 meters right before the break was more dangerous.

It's going to be tough for Eintracht

Significantly, Eintracht's first chance came after a corner when Robin Koch headed Mario Götze's cross just wide of the goal (28'). Götze also prepared the first opportunity of the game, but after his lobbed pass, Skhiri failed with his direct pass to former colleague Marvin Schwäbe in the Cologne goal (40th).

After the change, the guests played a little more courageously forward and were quickly rewarded relatively quickly when Farès Chaïbi, who came on at the break for Junior Dina Ebimbe, scored what was supposed to be 0-1 (58th). But the Algerian was clearly offside. Given the new balance of power, Cologne were allowed to counterattack, and at least did so well in the 63rd minute thanks to their two most agile players, when Thielmann passed the pass sharply, but Nkounkou cleared it in front of Alidou at the last moment.

The door opened for FC when Nkounkou was late against Alidou three minutes later and had to leave the pitch after a clumsy foul. And straight from the free kick it was 1-0 when Alidou directed Ljubicic's shot into the goal with his shin. The 22-year-old refrained from celebrating the goal out of respect for his actual employer. At the beginning of the final phase, Thielmann decided the game before Tuta also left early after another foul.