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FEATURE | FC Köln 2-2 Union Berlin: Anthony Modeste full of confidence and thriving in Steffen Baumgart’s system

Matthew Marshall, RheinEnergieStadion – FC Köln fought back to earn a 2-2 draw against Union Berlin at RheinEnergieStadion. Anthony Modeste opened the scoring and was on hand to equalise in the 86th minute after goals to Julian Ryerson and Grischa Prömel gave the visitors a 2-1 half time lead.

Billy Goats let it slip

Köln started well and took the lead in the 7th minute. Florian Kainz unleashed a shot that rebounded off the bar into the path of Anthony Modeste, the in-form striker taking a touch before converting into an empty net.

The Billy Goats’ lead lasted for less than two minutes. Niko Gießelmann’s cross fell to Julian Ryerson who measured his shot into the bottom corner, Timo Horn failing to attempt a save.

The remainder of the first half failed to match the intensity of the opening 10 minutes, but the game burst into life five minutes before the break.

Modeste headed Kainz’s cross wide, Ondrej Duda shot into the side netting and Modeste headed Jonas Hector’s cross at straight at Andreas Luthe. It looked like Köln would regain the lead, but they shot themselves in the foot to gift Union the lead.

Köln’s attempt to play out from defence failed spectacularly. Rafael Czichos lost possession with Gricha Prömel playing a neat 1-2 with Genki Haraguchi, Prömel’s shot taking a slight deflection past Horn.

It could have been 3-1 before the break. Sheraldo Becker broke clear and found Awoniyi, the Nigerian striker shaking off Timo Hübers before firing a shot over the bar.

Second half comeback

Köln started the second half with a fine team move that culminated in Dejan Ljubičić forcing a save from Luthe. Hector headed Kainz’s free kick wide before the left-back forced another save from Luthe.

The comeback was on and duly delivered in the 86th minute. Kainz’s corner was headed into the far corner by Modeste to send the home crowd into a frenzy.

Both teams pushed for a late winner. Andreas Voglsammer’s shot was saved by Horn before Benno Schmitz found Kainz at the back post, his shot bouncing narrowly over the bar.

Köln keep coming at home

Köln are making a habit of picking up points at home after falling behind. Steffen Baumgart’s side went behind against Hertha Berlin and won 3-1, repeated the trick against Greuther Fürth and drew 2-2 against Bayer Leverkusen after trailing 2-0 at half time.

Anthony Modeste on fire

Anthony Modeste has been desperate to recapture the form that saw him score 25 Bundesliga goals in 2016/17. He is on target to eclipse that effort after a fantastic start to the season.

The 33-year-old striker has now scored six goals in his last four appearances, including two off the bench as Köln won 2-0 at Stuttgart in the DFB-Pokal. He is full of confidence and thriving in a system that gives him plenty of opportunities to score.

Playing out from the back

One thing that defines the elite teams is their ability to play the ball out of defence with relative ease. Bayern Munich are the benchmark in Germany, and when it goes wrong they have players in position who can defuse the danger.

When teams of lesser quality attempt to play the ball out from the back and it goes wrong, apart from amusing neutral observers, it can often have devastating consequences.

That was the case with Union Berlin’s second goal. From Horn’s hospital pass, Czichos’ calamity and Özcan’s inability to track Prömel, it was error after error after error that gifted Union a goal and gave Köln another mountain to climb.

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