One high - one low, those were the respective spirits of the side coming into this game.
Köln couldn’t be in greater spirits after ending a 3-run losing streak against last season’s runners up Borussia Dortmund, winning 2-1. Whilst Bremen suffered a humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich losing 6-0 at the Allianz Arena. Coming into this game Robin Dutt was given the dreaded vote of confidence from Sporting Director Thomas Eichin, which seemed to indicate that if he lost this game he would be under huge pressure or even on his way out of the door.
Dutt made three changes for this evening’s game - Eljero Elia, Assani Lukimya and Felix Kroos were swapped out for Luca Caldirola, Alejandro Gálvez and Izet Hajrović whilst Peter Stöger made no changes to his side after their famous victory at home to Dortmund.
The 1st half was a very tedious affair with neither side creating a chance of real opportunity. Simon Zoller of Köln did have an early half-chance when he managed to get away an early shot but it was easily gathered by Raphael Wolf. In the 7th minute of the match Franco Di Santo went down in the Köln box and attempted to claim a penalty but Dr. Felix Brych was having none of it and replays showed there was hardly any contact and that Jonas Hector won the ball first. The Billy Goats did look to have an opportunity to counter in the 20th minute when Dusan Švento broke clear but he was pulled back by Caldirola who was subsequently booked for his foul on the Slovakian midfielder.
From the following costless-kick Marcel Risse put the ball low and hard towards the near post but it went just past the outside of the upright. Timo Horn then produced an error that almost put his team behind after he misjudged Cedric Makiadi’s cross allowing the ball to fall to Fin Bartels but his rushed half-volley went over. Bremen then had another penalty appeal in the 36th minute when Zlatko Junuzović went over inside the box but Brych immediately blew his whistle for a Köln costless kick and replays once again proved the referee correct as Junuzović blatantly dived and was booked for his theatrics.
The first 2 minutes of the second-half arguably produced more excitement than the whole of the first-half with Di Santo having a very early shot saved before Köln countered with Zoller running down the right before his cross looked destined to arrive at Švento’s feet, before Bremen Captain Clemens Fritz got a touch on the ball. Bremen then produced their best chance of the game 10 minutes later when Santiago García did brilliantly to get his cross away before it went out of play. The cross went all the way across the 18-yard box to Junuzović who hit it brilliantly on the half volley only for Horn to produce a top-class save to tip it over the crossbar.
Bremen were made to pay for their wastefulness only a couple of minutes later when Anthony Ujah was brought on. The Nigerian immediately had a chance that was saved but he then had another chance when Švento got past Sebastian Prödl way too easily before pulling it back to the Nigerian striker who calmly put it away first-time.
Despite Bremen’s lack of creativity they did have some decent opportunities in the second-half, Hajrović had Horn beaten with a superb shot in the 60th minute only for the post to deny the Bosnia and Herzegovina attacker.
Köln did manage to pull together a couple of chances to seal the win but were unable to convert them, one fell to Kevin Vogt after an initial cross was cleared to the German midfielder but he dragged his shot wide. Bremen did have two half-chances at the death but both of these were tame efforts and Köln held on for the win.