FC Köln have saved themselves from relegation desperation on the final day of the Bundesliga season, snatching a late goal against FC Schalke to win 1-0. The Billy Goats now go into the relegation/promotion playoff against the third place 2. Bundesliga side, to be decided tomorrow.
Friedhelm Funkel’s side left it desperately late against Schalke 04, scoring a headed goal in the 86th minute from central defender Sebastiaan Bornauw. The Billy Goats did however defend well throughout the match, whilst keeping 66% of the possession against the Royal Blues. This meant that the match was in Köln’s hands and theirs for the taking throughout, and they nearly did take the match by the scruff of the neck in the 70th minute.
On a free kick from Jonas Hector, Salih Özcan was caught offside (and fouling) Salif Sane before Sebastian Andersson’s headed goal crept in at the near-post. Die Geißböcke turned their temporary heartbreak into increased tempo and intensity, and only ramped up the pressure, throwing every single player forward and going long. They ramped up their press and aggression, and threw every attempt they could long and direct into the box. Jonas Hector hit the post minutes after this, and with Köln knocking at the door, a goal felt inevitable.
Five minutes after Hector’s miss, the ball again found its way into the box from Hector into substitute Jan Thielmann. Ralf Fahrmann charged out of goal, and was caught out of position when Sebastiaan Bornauw banged the ball into the back of the net. The commentator was so surprised at the goal-scorer that he yelled “Bornauw! Who’s had an absolutely terrible campaign!”. Even if this may be true, May 22nd will go down as a day that will live long in the memory of the 22-year-old defender and the hearts and minds of FC Köln.
There is still work to be done for Funkel’s team in the hunt to escape relegation, as they find out their competitors for the playoff by the time 2. Bundesliga comes to a close tomorrow. For now they can celebrate, knowing they put up their most valiant effort on the final day to stay in the league.