1. FC Köln resisted Hannover 96 for 90 minutes to finally pick up their first Bundesliga point of the season, ending a six-match losing streak in all competitions.
The hosts had the majority of the chances but couldn’t make the most of them, although they remain unbeaten and return to the top four with the point.
Füllkrug misses chances in goalless first 45
The hosts came into this game still unbeaten following their promotion back from the 2. Bundesliga, whereas Köln had lost all five Bundesliga matches so far. Both sides made two changes from midweek, with Hannover bringing in Kenan Karaman and Ihlas Bebou for Florian Hünber and Felix Klaus. Marco Höger and Simon Zoller made way for Lukas Klünter and Salih Özcan for the struggling Billy Goats.
Unsurprisingly Hannover looked by far the most confident side in the early stages. Bebou, making his first start for them, headed wide from Karaman’s cross. The young winger then sent up a perfect chance for Niklas Füllkrug but in front of goal he could only shoot wide. They were coming forward with ease though, with Köln struggling to contain them despite a change of defensive shape from recent weeks, playing effectively five at the back.
Only some over-excessive play on the ball from Salif Sané could present so much as a chance for Köln as Jhon Córdoba, goalless in the league this season, disposed him. He came forward alone, but could only hit the side netting with his shot. If Sané needed to redeem himself for that then he did shortly after, with a powerful header into the crossbar from Pirmin Schwegler’s free kick. Timo Horn looked pretty much beaten.
As the break closed in, Füllkrug had another chance to put Hannover ahead. This time from a little way out he delivered an excellent strike and he was unfortunate that it went only inches over the bar.
A succession of Konstantin Rausch set pieces gave Köln some hope in the later stages, but Philipp Tschauner was not tested. The good news for them at least is they made it to half time still level with their hosts, who became only the second team in Bundesliga history to start the campaign with six successive goalless first halves, as much as they would have preferred to be leading.
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Goalless draw becomes increasingly inevitable despite Köln resurgence
The second half started as a territorial battle. Hannover kept Köln trapped in their own half in the first few minutes, but failed to take advantage of several set pieces. Köln eventually broke out and soon created some good chances. Yuya Osako’s header from a Rausch corner was cleared by Karaman, but moments later a good attacking move saw Özcan present Klünter with a chance on goal, but a poor effort was put wide.
From another Schwegler free kick, an unmarked Karaman fired over the bar for Hannover, whilst Waldemar Anton was denied by a combination of Horn and the offside flag. But Köln’s recovery in this game had been continuing. Leonardo Bittencourt fired wide after his run into the middle of the park. The former Hannover man then crossed in to Osako, who forced Tschauner into action for the first time with a point blank save with his foot.
A series of fouls began to break up the play, but Hannover were starting to assert dominance again. Sané came close to finally putting them ahead of one of these free kicks, with an ambitious shot on goal on target but put over by Horn. Another set piece, this time again from Schwegler, presented chances for Martin Harnik, who had been quiet in this match, and Marvin Bakalorz, but both were blocked.
Ultimately, neither side had enough to find a goal. Hannover failed to create much in the final few minutes, although Karaman had a shot blocked in stoppage time, whilst Köln couldn’t make the most of a few more set pieces, with Jojic firing well with the only effort on goal of note. They rode their luck a little, but Köln finally had a point on the board.