November 24, 2017

1. FC Köln splits points with Hamburger SV in goalless return to the Bundesliga

The home side was fresh-arrived to the Bundesliga after a two-year tour in the second league.

The visiting side had narrowly avoided its first-ever relegation from the Bundesliga and posted a new record for lowest point total for a side to retain the class in the German top flight.

Considering the relative proximity of the clubs’ finishes in Germany overall last season, as well as their tight DFB Pokal match, which ended 2:1 in favor of the host side HSV, the lone scoreless draw among Saturday Bundesliga results is likely a very acceptable result for both the 1. FC Köln and the Hamburger SV.

Excepting a pair of dangerous chances in quick succession for the hosts in the early going, the first half belonged exclusively to the side with the huge edge in Bundesliga experience. The HSV kept the Billy Goats largely in pursuit, though the rainy weather seemed to contribute to a paucity of decent chances, with the majority of the HSV shots coming from distance.

With the first half having been played largely near midfield and slightly shaded into the Köln defensive half, the match seemed to spark to life almost immediately upon resumption of play after the break. Ivo Ilicevic had a pair of chances in quick succession, with young Köln keeper Timo Horn rising to the occasion in his personal Bundesliga debut. Shortly thereafter, Anthony Ujah and Yuya Osako delivered what ended up being Köln’s two best chances of the afternoon, with Ujah’s header flying directly into the arms of Rene Adler and Osako’s solid strike solidly sailing safely wide of the goal.

After the flurry of chances, the game largely settled into a similar pattern to which most of the first half followed, though this time with the home side carrying a much larger share of play, while the bulk of HSV’s second-half chances coming through corners and free kicks.

Ultimately, the match gradually took on the appearance of a scoreless draw it ultimately ended up being, with both sides showing the fluctuations of form to be expected from a season opener.

Thanks to Stefan Unkelbach for the fan-sourced header image!

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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.

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