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Köln go top of the Bundesliga with 3-0 win over Freiburg

Köln went top of the Bundesliga with a convincing 3-0 victory over Freiburg after goals from Anthony Modeste and Leonardo Bittencourt.

The game began in a fierce fashion, with several tackles flying in. However, the first chance fell to Freiburg and Florian Niederlechner, who could only divert Onur Bulut’s miscued effort straight into the hands of goalkeeper Timo Horn.

The 25-year-old striker, on loan from Mainz, was nonetheless threatening, forcing another save from Horn, this time from a header from a free-kick.

The home side soon took control however, with Modeste and Marcel Risse both firing wide of Alexander Schwolow’s goal before the two combined for the opening goal. Risse’s corner from the left-hand side was met strongly by the 28-year-old Frenchman, whose header into the far corner sent the RheinEnergieStadion into raptures.

A minute later, Köln doubled their lead, with the lively Yuya Osako shrugging off his man from Modeste’s flick on before squaring to Bittencourt to tap home.

Freiburg had opportunities to reduce the deficit before the break, but Mike Frantz headed narrowly over from a corner, before Timo Horner turned Bulut’s free-kick round the post for a corner. On the other hand, Köln could have extended their lead if an under-pressure Jonas Hector could have got more purchase on Osako’s cross.

Nevertheless, the hosts were not to be denied their third goal before the break, again a Modeste header, but this time from a throw-in from Frederik Sørensen.

For all of Köln’s attacking prowess in the first half, it was their defensive resoluteness that came to the fore in the second. Freiburg, for the most part, lacked creativity in the final third, but nonetheless should have reduced the lead through Niederlechner, but his shot on the turn skimmed past Horn’s left-hand post.

With their build-up play proving fruitless, the visitors resorted to long shots, which were either inaccurate, in the case of Maximilian Philipp, or were far too comfortable for Horn, who saved twice from Vicenzo Grifo and Niederlechner.

Freiburg had two more chances to at least get on the scoresheet, but substitute Nils Petersen fired over when put through and well placed, before a fantastic double save, first with his legs and then with his right hand, by Horn denied Niederlechner his first Bundesliga goal.

The visitors were finally put out of their misery by the full-time whistle, which saw Köln continue their unbeaten start to the campaign and, momentarily at least, put them top of the Bundesliga table.

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