The points were shared at the RheinEnergieStadion on Saturday afternoon as FC Koln drew 1-1 at home to Werder Bremen.
Bremen opened the scoring in the 66th minute when Josh Sargent headed home from close range, but Koln equalized through Jonas Hector after a loose ball in the area fell his way.
In the end, it was a fair result. The home side were better throughout, but their goal was a controversial one, as a foul very easily could have been called in the build up.
Story of the match
Koln nearly took the lead after only two minutes. A corner towards the back post made its way to Jan Thielmann, who connected sweetly with a volley that seemed destined for goal. However, his effort was accidentally blocked by Ellyes Skhiri, and the danger was lost.
Bremen had a chance of their own a few moments later. A superb cross from Ludwig Augustinsson picked out Niclas Fullkrug in the area, but his header attempt went wide of the target.
Skhiri had the chance to make up for his earlier error when he got on the end of a corner a few yards out from goal. It wasn’t to be, though, as he headed the ball right to Jiri Pavlenka, who was able to make the save.
All things considered, Koln were much better in the first half. They had most of the ball, and they created a few chances as well. Bremen tried to hit on the counter, but just couldn’t get things going early on.
That pattern continued going into the second half, but Bremen would be the ones who opened the scoring against the run of play. Out of seemingly nowhere, Romano Schmid was able to whip in a cross towards the back post. He picked out Josh Sargent in the area, and he made no mistake with the finish, guiding a header into the back of the net.
Koln kept pushing forward, and eventually grabbed the equalizer with about 10 minutes to go. A high cross flew into the area, and both Pavlenka and substitute Emmanuel Dennis jumped for the ball. The goalkeeper couldn’t catch it, though, and the loose ball fell to Jonas Hector, who poked home from close range on his return to the team. However, the goal really shouldn’t have stood, as Dennis seemingly fouled Pavlenka with his arm which is what prevented the goalkeeper from controlling the cross. However, the referee and VAR saw differently.
Both teams then went in search of a late winner, but neither was able to create any real chances in the final few minutes.
Two of the same
This contest showed just how similar the two sides are. Both are seemingly safe from relegation, but neither will come close to pushing for a European spot.
Koln controlled possession throughout, but they never did much with it. They were most dangerous on set pieces, which goes to show how little they created from open play. Even their only goal of the contest wasn’t really deserved, as it came after an apparent mistake from the opposition which could have easily been called back for a foul as well.
Bremen, meanwhile, didn’t really show up. A change of formation to fit in Niclas Fullkrug made the team disjointed going forward early on, and it was little surprise to see the team start playing better when manager Florian Kohfeldt reverted back to the previous system used in recent games.
That led to Die Grün-Weißen taking the lead, but they then sat back deep once again, which eventually led to them giving away an equalizer. They didn’t show any attacking impetus on the afternoon, focusing way too much on hitting on the counter instead of just trying to keep the ball at times.
In the end, a draw was probably the right result.
Man of the match - Josh Sargent
Grabbing a goal for the second straight game, Josh Sargent’s header was enough for Bremen to snatch a point on the road.
The American did struggle early on, as he was forced to play further out wide due to the teams change of formation. However, once he returned to his more natural role, he was able to make an impact.
Sargent didn’t do much, but he did enough to get onto the scoresheet once again. Finding space at the far post, his header was a quality one, as it was placed where the goalkeeper had no chance to save it. It was a clinical finish, and it should give him a confidence boost going into the future.
It seems like Sargent is finally getting into a goalscoring rhythm, which is good news for him, his club, and even his country.