1. FC Köln won an action-packed duel due to injuries against Bayer Leverkusen. Coach Steffen Baumgart’s team happily defeated their Rhenish rivals 1-0 (0-0) on Sunday. Kingsley Schindler scored the visitors’ goal in the 67th minute in front of 22,658 spectators in Leverkusen and raised the hopes of FC fans for future European competitions.
Due to the success, the Cologne team overtook 1. FC Union in the Bundesliga table and is now seventh. Bayer 04 lost a home game for the first time since October last year. National player Florian Wirtz was also seriously injured. He was on the field for a long time after a duel and had to be carried off the field on a stretcher and taken to hospital. His club later confirmed the dire fears: Wirtz tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. That’s the end of the season for him.
Three days after the 2-3 Europa League loss to Atalanta Bergamo, Leverkusen did not look tired at all. The team in third place was the better team for a long time, but they missed the opening goal. Both teams led the prestigious duel forcefully and quickly from the start. There was hardly any fixation on the ball in the center of the field, but instead he advanced as quickly as possible. Bayer created two big chances early on. Paulinho initially acted too clumsily, then the Brazilian faltered after a good Wirtz free pass from Cologne goalkeeper Marvin Schwäbe, who made a great save.
The afternoon unintentionally ended early for Wirtz: he was probably seriously injured in a duel with Luca Kilian. Wirtz hit the turf several times in pain and motioned for supervisors to come closer. He appeared to have sprained his left knee.
After almost half an hour, the last strong game designer had to be taken off the field. The former Cologne player was shouted insults from the guest corner before and during the break due to injuries. When the substitution signal came, parts of the attached FC gave a disdainful applause. Amine Adli came in for the 18-year-old. Bayer coach Gerardo Seoane had already had to replace Jeremie Frimpong due to injury, and Odilon Kossounou had to leave at half-time.
Despite the weaknesses, Leverkusen was the better team. Although Colonia held up well in duels, they were harmless up front. Standout striker Anthony Modeste had Leverkusen’s defenders under control.
Even after the change of sides, Bayer remained the strongest team. However, they did not create clear chances. FC, on the other hand, were efficient up front: substitute Schindler used one of the few attacks to score the winning goal. Cologne will host Borussia Dortmund next Sunday. For Leverkusen, the important second leg against Bergamo is on Thursday. (dpa)