Stories and pictures of the beautiful game.
1. FC Union Berlin vs. 1. FC Köln 2:1 (1:1)
September 21, 2012 | attendance: 16.750 (sold out)
When those two teams last met in the 2002/03 season, Union conceded a total of 10 goals, 7 alone during their away game in Cologne. The Union fans still celebrated wholeheartedly and invented the ironic chant “dit wird ‘ne janz enge Kiste” (“what a nail biter this is”). In the end, Cologne got promoted and Union finished 9th.
Today, the stakes were higher, as both teams only managed a feeble number of points from draws so far (one for Union, two for Cologne), and neither wanted to get stuck at the bottom of the table. Words fail to describe the tension on the terraces, as Union fans were singing and screaming their lungs out.
As Cologne came with a full contingent, the stadium was sold out once more. During their last home game Union fans had displaced a naughty banner directed at the German football association (DFB). The DFB announced to take legal recourse which prompted the fans to display a myriad of additional banners that contained more witticism than offence this time. Cologne fans showed their support by showing a small version of the banner that started the dispute.
Three minutes into the game, the Union fans loudly voiced their conspiracy theories against the DFB when Munich-based referee Peter Sippel awarded Cologne a penalty after what to many in the stands seemed like a clean tackle by youngster Björn Jopek. Thomas Bröker converted.
It took Union almost half an hour to start playing proper football: Björn Jopek headed a deflected ball towards the keeper, who had saved a close-range header from Silvio earlier, but now served him the ball right at his feet – the stadium erupted. Cologne never recovered and had to concede their second goal ten minutes into the second half when Torsten Mattuschka won a tackle at the edge of the box and circled it around the keeper.
Cologne did not have much to offer today, and will face even tougher times. Hopefully the fans will act reasonably and support their team nonetheless (Kevin Pezzoni left the club a few weeks ago when a small group of people threatened him with violence for supposedly not playing well enough).
Union will need to work on precision when it comes to the final pass, and they should look into closing the vast gaps in midfield or maybe tend to the wings that were quite deserted at times today.
At the end of the day it was literally a nail biting “janz enge Kiste”, celebrated by Union’s fans and team alike.