A first half full of excitement produced just the one goal, an excellent solo effort from Chrstian Clemens for the hosts.
They couldn’t build on that lead though, with Andersson earning Union a deserved draw with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Clemens goal caps entertaining first half
Markus Anfang made three changes to his side from their win over VfL Bochum for his first game at the RheinEnergieStadion. Lasse Sobiech, Jannes Horn and Niklas Hauptmann came in for Jorge Meré, Salih Özcan and Sehrou Guirassy. Union beat Erzgebirge Aue with a late Felix Kroos free-kick, but he remained on the bench. Simon Hedlund replaced Akaki Gogia in Urs Fischer’s only alteration.
It was a very open game from the other, and although Köln had chances through Hauptmann, Jonas Hector and Marcel Risse, their guests were more than keeping them on their toes, with Köln’s defence struggling to contain the runs of Kenny Prince Redondo and Hedlund. Marvin Friedrich of all people had a shot blocked, whilst a superb cross from Christopher Trimmel was wasted by a rushed and wayward Redondo header that went wide.
Louis Schaub was Köln’s danger man, constantly tearing up the right wing and involved in nearly everything they created as they imposed themselves on the match. He struck wide with his left foot after cutting in from the right, and his runs created a lot more, although he then headed the best chance himself wide after a cross this time from Clemens. A mistake in midfield from Union then led to a chance for Jhon Córdoba, but his shot from a tight angle was saved by Rafal Gikiewicz.
The Billy Goats remained dangerous but it would take a piece of individual brilliance to finally put them ahead four minutes before half-time. Surprisingly though, it wasn’t Schaub, but Clemens. Taking advantage of a missed interception from Grischa Prömel, he launched himself down the right wing, came inside, and struck from a little way out. Gikiewicz could have a little better though as we was beaten at his near post.
Andersson snatches an equaliser after both sides hit woodwork
On International Lefthanders Day, two left footers stole the show in the early minutes of the second half. Ken Reichel was famed for his left peg at Eintracht Braunschweig and it nearly produced the equaliser from a free-kick, however Timo Horn managed to get a hand to it, deflecting it into the bar, before Prömel headed into the side netting. Soon after, Schaub found the head of Hector from a little further out, with the Köln skipping heading over off the bar.
The game remained in the balance, with a Union goal perhaps the more likely, especially with Friedrich having a header saved by Horn. Andersson, after a quiet game, would equalise though, albeit controversially. Köln felt that Hauptmann was fouled by Prömel, which allowed Marcel Hartel to start a counter. Gogia, off the bench, charged down the left, with Andersson beating Horn to the cross for a poacher’s finish, his first goal since joining from 1. FC Kaiserslautern in the summer.
Die Eisern were the more composed side now and looked the most dangerous. The hosts’ cause wasn’t helped by a mistake from Jannes Horn in giving the ball away to Andersson. Hartel, a former Köln man, than found Gogia, but a poor first touch in the box allowed Timo Horn to eventually make the save.
Köln pushed the pendulum back in their favour in the latter stages, with a couple of half chances late on, as Rafael Czichos had a shot blocked after a corner was not dealt with, whilst a ball back into the box was missed by the substitute Simon Zoller. A draw was a fair result though.