In detention in the Conference League, 1. FC Cologne has secured the best possible starting position for the preliminary round next week.
On Friday afternoon, a penalty goal by substitute Ondrej Duda (82nd minute) led to FC's important 1-0 win (0-0) at 1. FC Slovacko from the Czech Republic. Florian Kainz had previously missed a penalty kick (51st). On Thursday evening, the game was canceled after seven because of thick fog. Linton Maina, who had to leave the field injured, was worried.
Next Thursday, coach Steffen Baumgart's team will play against OGC Nice for progress. Slovacko, on the other hand, failed early. After five matchdays, Cologne are in third place with seven points behind Nice and Partizan Belgrade (both 8). The first in the group goes straight to the round of 16. The second plays in an upstream knockout round against one of the eight Europa League relegated teams.
The game, which was canceled on Thursday due to heavy fog, started again on Friday afternoon under normal conditions with a throw-in from Cologne in the seventh minute. More than 1000 FC supporters were there again on Friday. "Yesterday we were amazed at how many FC fans found their way here, even though we didn't sell any tickets. The fact that they're here again today is anything but a matter of course," said Cologne sports director Christian Keller on RTL .
Because of the riots at Cologne's first away game of this Conference League season in Nice on September 8, the Cologne team was not allowed to sell any tickets themselves. However, apparently some supporters had already secured tickets for the game in the Czech Republic before the game in Nice or had gotten tickets in other ways.
They saw a Cologne team that only had better chances to score after the half-time whistle at an unusual time. Before the change of sides, the better team from the Rhineland had hardly created any chances. Kainz then carelessly missed the great opportunity to take the lead five minutes after the change. The Austrian shot a weak penalty kick into the arms of Czech keeper Filip Nguyen.
Substitute Duda (77') initially missed another good opportunity before clinching victory five minutes later. Now, above all, FC coach Baumgart hopes that the game against Hoffenheim will be postponed. "I think it would be good if the game against Hoffenheim was relocated. If there's a chance, we'd like to do it. We'll see what's possible. We should tackle that," Baumgart said on Thursday evening. Baumgart sent his captain Jonas Hector and attacker Mark Uth, who were still ailing on the FC bench, back to Cologne in the evening so that they could regenerate better.