Nfter the home defeat against the German coach Michael Boris and the winning goal by the native of Berlin Palko Dardái, 1. FC Köln are in danger of passing the group stage of the Conference League. Mainly due to being outnumbered for 70 minutes, FC lost the playoff first leg against Julian Chabot 1-2 (1-2) and faces a difficult task in the second leg in Hungary in a week’s time.
The 2: 1 for Fehérvár scored the long-time Hertha player Palkó Dardái (40th), son of ex-Hertha coach Pal Dardái. The Cologne team, who failed in the first round of the DFB Cup, are actually dependent on the additional income of around ten million in the group phase.
When Cologne coach Steffen Baumgart made his European Cup debut as coach, it was cold consolation that FC striker Florian Dietz continued his personal football fairy tale with the opening goal (14th). A week and a half ago, a 24-year-old regional league player without a professional assignment, Dietz, who was suddenly promoted to the starting XI after the sale of Anthony Modeste to Borussia Dortmund, made his mark eleven days after his professional debut and five days after his first Bundesliga goal Premiere goal in the European Cup. From the 20th minute Cologne played ten after defender Julian Chabot rightly saw Dárdai red after an emergency brake. Budu Zivzivadze headed the equalizer (32′).
Before the first European Cup game in 1715 days, the FC fans, dressed all in red, had choreographed their team to “eat up Europe”. And the FC professionals seem determined and highly motivated from the first second. However, the Hungarians, lined up by Boris with a defensive five-man line, prove to be tough and passionate defending opponents.
After ten minutes, the strong Dejan Ljubicic had the lead upside down, caught the ball after a cross from Jan Thielmann, but not properly. Two minutes later, after a nice pass from Ljubicic, Dietz shook off two opponents and pushed the ball in ice-cold.
But six minutes later, Cologne were decimated when Chabot Dardái fouled 20 meters from goal as the last man. Although referee Tiago Lopes was justified in sending him off, Chabot seemed surprised. The defender didn’t even look at first and then looked completely shocked when he saw the red card.
Baumgart, who did not wear a suit in the European Cup, but stood on the sidelines first in a red shirt and then in a white shirt, did not change. After being sent off, he pulled captain Jonas Hector back from central midfield to his usual left-back position and let them play in a 4-2-2-1 – but Zivzivadze headed in the equalizer after a wonderful cross from Loic Nego. For the Georgian it was the sixth goal in the fifth qualifying game. And Dardái leaned under the bar with a spectacular diagonal shot before the break.
It was only after about an hour that the Cologne team got back on their feet and put more pressure on, substitute Linton Maina hit the post (70th).