Conference League: Cologne threatens preliminary round: 0: 2 in Belgrade

Even the otherwise hot-blooded Steffen Baumgart seemed emotionless as rarely.

Conference League: Cologne threatens preliminary round: 0: 2 in Belgrade

Even the otherwise hot-blooded Steffen Baumgart seemed emotionless as rarely. The football teacher followed the dreary performance of his Cologne team in the 0: 2 (0: 1) in Belgrade for long stretches without passionate gestures and a large range of motion. Because to his chagrin, his team was too harmless apart from the final phase.

Without the support of their own fans, who were absent at the behest of UEFA after the riots in Nice, Cologne suffered another setback in the fight for the round of 16 in the Conference League. The chances of the knockout round are therefore only small.

As in the 0:1 at home against Belgrade and the 2:5 in the league derby at Borussia Mönchengladbach, the Cologne team had to pay tribute to their ongoing shortage of personnel. In front of around 15,000 spectators in the Serbian capital, Partizan goalscorers Fousseni Diabaté (15th minute) and Ricardo Gomez (52nd) sealed their third defeat within a week.

"We Beat Ourselves"

"We beat ourselves - and that again and again. That hurts twice," complained Baumgart on RTL, referring to his team's capital defensive mistakes. With a worried look, the coach added: "It's a difficult phase for us at the moment. We have to make sure we keep a clear head." Similarly depressed was unlucky Timo Hübers, who had started the 0-1 lead with a failed attempt at clarification: "We had too many messes and didn't play what we had planned for a long time. So we're going home disappointed."

Before the two remaining group games against OGC Nice and 1. FC Slovacko, Cologne are third in the table (4 points) and four points behind the Serbs. Only the first in the group qualifies for the round of 16. The eight second move into an upstream knockout round against the eight Europa League relegated. For the clubs in third and fourth place, the European Cup season is over after the group stage. However, Hübers does not want to admit defeat just yet: "We can still get six points and get through."

Without the injured Jeff Chabot, Mathias Olesen, Jan Thielmann, Sebastian Andersson and Dejan Ljubicic, Cologne got off to a false start. After a major mistake by defender Timo Hübers, Diabaté was there and put the hosts ahead with a shot from close range into the far corner.

Game interrupted twice

As in Cologne, Partizan played this early 1:0 into the cards. Despite all efforts, the FC didn't create chances against the tightly staggered defense of the opponent for a long time. The efforts of the guests were made more difficult by two game interruptions of around ten minutes each, which the referee was forced to do in the first half due to the fog in the stadium caused by pyrotechnics.

At the second interruption after about half an hour, he sent the players off the field. After the professionals returned to the field and the restart, Belgrade was closer to 2-0 than FC to the equalizer: Queensy Menig hit the crossbar just before half-time.

Only at the beginning of the second half did the previously harmless Cologne team have the chance to make it 1-1, through Sargis Adamyan (47th), whose shot from the turn was too harmless. However, this scene was not the starting shot for a turnaround: Just five minutes later, Ricardo Gomes beat three opponents in the six-yard box and increased his header to make it 2-0 for Belgrade. That was the preliminary decision. Although the FC pushed for the goal, they could not shake the Partizan defense.

Squad 1. FC Köln Match info on uefa.com

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