Cologne 3-0 Schalke
(Bornauw 9′, Cordoba 39′, Nübel o.g. 75′)
The unimaginable has happened. Coach Markus Gisdol has turned the Billy Goats into a team that can’t stop collecting points.
After starting another season miserably, the predictably unpredictable carnival club looked like relegation candidates. Now, as March arrives, the club have won three of their last four games, scoring 13 in the process. They’ve only lost to champions and league leaders Bayern Munich. The mood in Müngersdorf is accordingly positive.
It only took nine minutes for that vibrant mood to return again, as Sebastiaan Bornauw’s glancing header landed in the back of the net.
The Müngersdorfer Stadion was in celebration mode – and these fans know how to celebrate. “Wenn Et Trömmelche Jeiht!” they sang along to the stadium’s goal music, a song about marching to the drums of the city’s carnival season.
Down on the pitch, the beat was provided by Florian Kainz. The Austrian midfielder was at the center of all that Cologne did well and set up Bornauw’s opener. Before the break, Jhon Cordoba scored his tenth goal of the season (and will be misssed in Paderborn next week after the Colombian picked up a fifth yellow card) and the home side were flying.
Schalke did try to get back into the game but looked as toothless as they had done in their previous six games without a win. They produced worryingly little against a Cologne defense which has conceded an above average number of goals.
Cologne players went over to ask their fans to take down the banner
The party mood threatened to disappear just before the start of the second half, when Cologne’s ultras on the Südkurve displayed a banner criticizing the collective ban handed to Borussia Dortmund supporters for their criticism of Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp.
Sporting director Horst Heldt approached the fans, as did captain Jonas Hector, and the incident was swiftly dealt with, allowing Cologne to pick up where they left off.
Kainz’s unspectacular shot should have been light work for Bayern Munich-bound Alexander Nübel but the young goalkeeper, who enjoyed a torrid time in his team’s 5-0 defeat to RB Leipzig last week, fumbled the ball over his own goal line. Absolutely everything was going Cologne’s way.
At the end of the game, Hector led the players over to the fans again. This time, not to remonstrate with them, but to celebrate. Cologne, tipped to go down, now have the fourth best form in the Bundesliga in the last 10 games and are eight points clear of the relegation zone.
“On Ash Wednesday, it’s all over,” goes the popular song signaling the end of carnival, which came to a close just several days ago.
For Markus Gisdol and his players, it seems like the fun has only just begun.