FC Koln 2-0 Hoffenheim

Posted on September 25, 2011

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LUKAS PODOLSKI was in blistering form as FC Koln secured their second victory in a row with a comfortable 2-0 triumph over Hoffenheim.

The German international was the creator for the opening goal, supplying a neat pass for Mato Jajalo to break the deadlock before confidently slotting home the second just after the hour mark.

Morale in the Koln camp was high going in to this match following last weekend’s 4-1 derby victory in Leverkusen and the Billy Goats made two changes at the back with Andrezinho and Christian Eichner coming in at full-back to replace Pedro Geromel and Ammar Jemal.

After a scincilating performance from Lukas Podolski at the BayArena, all eyes were on the Podolski and Milovoje Novakvoic combination in attack which was incredibly effective last term with 30 goals between them in the Bundesliga.

Hoffenheim were on an excellent run of form before this week’s fixtures with four wins in their last five matches and 11 goals in the process. Head coach Holger Stanislawski made just the one change to the team with Chinede Obasi dropping out for Peniel Mlapa.

There was a real buzz about the home supporters in the early stages of the game but it didn’t transcend on to the pitch with neither side taking control of the match.

It looked as though the game needed a mistake or a piece of individual brilliance to break the deadlock, and we got the former when on 20 minutes, Hoffenheim midfielder Sebastian Rudy gave possession away inside his own half, allowing Lukas Podolski to steam clear on goal and set up Mato Jajalo who had the easy task of stroking home his third goal of the campaign.

Podolski was oozing confidence when he was in possession of the ball and he almost made it 2-0 to the home side when he rifled in a left-foot shot from 30 yards which Tom Starke turned wide for a corner.

But the hosts were thanking their 27-year-old keeper Michael Rensing who did well to block an awkward shot from Sebastian Rudy which could have gone anywhere.

FC Koln’s starman Podolski was involved in another opportunity for the home side after the German international produced some terrific skill in the corner to break away from Andreas Beck and Isaac Vorsah, and then combined with Peszko, before being heavily tackled inside the box by Marvin Compper.

Solbakken’s men passed up a great opportunity on 37 minutes when Podolski combined with his strike-partner Milovoje Novakovic who found space inside the box but blazed over when he should have done better.

Just a few minutes before the interval, FC Koln were denied a strong claim for a penalty kick when Isaac Vorsah obstructed Slawomir Peszko inside the area but referee Peter Sippel from Munich waved away the shouts.

At the start of the second half, the Billy Goats showed their desire to make it two wins in successive weeks and Podolski was inches away from scoring after a good run then a left-foot shot which hit the side-netting.

Stanislawski reverted back to the team which kicked-off against Wolfsburg last weekend with Chinede Obasi coming on as a substitute on 53 minutes for the ineffective Mlapa.

With the game beginning open up, both sides had attempts at goal but it was FC Koln who always looked the likely team to score next and Lukas Podolski did that on 64 minutes when he cooly slotted past Starke from close range.

The hosts were happy to stay compact inside their own half and hit Hoffenheim on the break as the away side struggled to create any clearcut chances with Firmino, Babel and Sigurdsson having a poor afternoon.

FC Koln were dangerous on the counter-attack and a run involving Adil Chihi which forced Compper into conceding a foul just outside the box and from the resulting free-kick, Podolski fired his effort over the crossbar.

In the latter stages, Hoffenheim had the majority of the ball and should have had a goal back with three minutes remaining but Babel produced a lazy finish from the left-hand side of the six-yard box and managed to fire it over the crossbar.

But Solbakken’s men were comfortable in the second half and secured all three points which moved them in to 11th, one place ahead of their rivals Leverkusen.

Koln: Dangerous from left-hand side

Stale Solbakken will be delighted with the last few performances by his side with the Billy Goats following up their impressive derby victory with three points against an in-form Hoffenheim.

FC Koln were never in much doubt and looked assured in defence but very dangerous in attack with Lukas Podolski buzzing after scoring two in Leverkusen last weekend.

The Norwegian coach has moulded a very decent team together at the Rhein-Energie-Stadion with Podolski and Novakovic finally looking close to their superb form of last season.

FC Koln are strong in a number of areas but, in particular, the left-hand side seems to be where most of their goals and chances come from. Today, left-back Christian Eichner touched the ball more often than any other FC Koln player with 67 touches, followed by Lukas Podolski on 56 and Slawomir Peszko who had 51.

Podolski is deployed just off Milovoje Novakovic but his excellent movement in to the channel between the opposition’s right-back and right centre-half has resulted in a number of opportunities in the past few weeks.

Hoffenheim: Ineffective in attack and no focal point

A lot was expected of Hoffenheim this afternoon with a top-three place in the Bundesliga up for grabs if they took all three points at FC Koln.

Holger Stanislawski lined up with a 4-2-4 formation which meant Ryan Babel, Roberto Firmino, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Peniel Mlapa were interchanging in attack. Sadly for the former St Pauli coach, it would turn out to be one of those afternoon’s when nothing would really fall for Hoffenheim.

Despite being at fault for the opening goal, midfielder Sebastian Rudy was at the heart of everything and had a very decent afternoon in the middle of the park. The former Stuttgart man was on the ball more often than any other player in a blue jersey and had 98 touches of the ball with a passing completion rate of over 86%.

But it was the final ball which will frustrate Stanislawski with Hoffenheim having more shots on goal in total and had double the amount of passes as their opponents.

And from the wider areas, Hoffenheim had 18 crosses in to the box compared with FC Koln’s three and 15 of them came from the left-hand side with Edson Braffheid and Ryan Babel. None of the four attackers were positioned in the area to get on the end of the crosses and more often than not, would stay outside of the box.

Even bringing on Knowledge Musona and Chinede Obasi failed to add a focal point to Hoffenheim’s attack and it looks as though they miss someone like Vedad Ibisevic who could be used when so much ammunition is being provided from wide areas.

MOTM: Lukas Podolski (FC Koln)

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Posted in: Matches