Roger Schmidt made six changes to the line-up from the 2-1 defeat against FC Ingolstadt in the Bundesliga: Three were enforced as Jonathan Tah and Julian Baumgartlinger were sidelined with a bout of gastroenteritis and Charles Aránguiz served a one-match ban following his dismissal on Sunday. They were replaced by Ömer Toprak, Vladlen Yurchenko and Julian Brandt. Kai Havertz, Benjamin Henrichs and Wendell were also in the starting eleven. Tin Jedvaj, Danny da Costa and Chicharito were on the subs bench.
Werkself press early on
The Werkself pressed from the start leaving no doubt the aim was to go into the winter break with a win. Schmidt’s men immediately put Köln under pressure and dominated the opening stages of the match. Hakan Calhanoglu and the lively Julian Brandt lead the way up front.
The first goal was scored by the hosts with their first notable move of the game. A cross from Frederik Sörensen on the right flank found striker Anthony Modeste and he left Aleksandar Dragovic and Bernd Leno helpless as he slotted the ball into the net at the far post on 21 minutes. The Werkself remained undaunted and shortly after conceding it was Calhanoglu again who tested the Köln keeper Thomas Kessler with a long-range effort on 24 minutes.
Wendell replies with first goal of the season
The match increasingly became an evenly balanced encounter but the Werkself tried everything to get back on terms. Bayer 04 again went close to levelling with shots fromYurchenko (31’) and Calhanoglu (33’, 43’). In the end it was Wendell who netted the deserved equaliser after a one-two with Havertz a minute before half-time. The two sides went into the break level at 1-1. That was also due to Leno pulling off a brilliant save to turn a long-range effort from Yuya Osako round the post on 38 minutes
Bayer 04 started the second half in the same determined manner. Admir Mehmedi had a chance to score on 47 minutes but he failed to connect properly and Kessler was easily able to make the save. Over the course of the rest of the game the Schmidt team was again and again forced back into their own half by Peter Stöger’s team but there were no clear-cut chances for the hosts. Modeste had the chance to make it 2-1 for Köln but Yurchenko was able to make a decisive intervention on 54 minutes.
Few chances after the break
The action at the Rhein Energie Stadium in Cologne went back and forwards with both teams competing on equal terms – but neither side was able to create clear goalscoring opportunities. The best chance for the Werkself fell to Havertz on 69 minutes but he was unable to convert a pass from Julian Brandt. The Werkself did not give much away at the back thanks to focussed performances from the back four led by Toprak and Dragovic. The derby ended in a fair 1-1 draw.
The Werkself go into the winter break in ninth position on 21 points. Bayer 04 are back in action on Sunday 22 January (15.30 CET) with a home game against third-placed Hertha Berlin.
FC Köln: Kessler – Sörensen, Mavraj, Heintz – Öczan, Hector – Olkowski, Rausch, Osaka – Modeste, Rudnevs (Zoller 68’)
Bayer 04: Leno – Henrichs, Dragovic, Toprak, Wendell – Yurchenko, Kampl (Chicharito 63’) – Havertz, Calhanoglu – Brandt, Mehmedi (Pohjanpalo 85’)
Goals: 1-0 Modeste (21’), 1-1 Wendell (44’)
Referee: Manuel Gräfe (Berlin)
Attendance: 50,000 (sell out)
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