Markus Gisdol opted for three alterations from the 1:4 defeat in Leipzig, as Kingsley Ehizibue, Kingsley Schindler and Ellyes Skhiri dropped to the bench. Benno Schmitz, Dominick Drexler and Simon Terodde earned a spot in the starting eleven.
On the other hand, FC Augsburg made just one change to their starting line-up following the 4:0 win over Hertha BSC. Marco Richter was only fit enough for the bench, as Martin Schmidt picked André Hahn as his replacement.
The game started at a frantic pace. Birger Verstraete’s early free-kick was blocked before Tomas Koubek had to be alert to deny Simon Terodde’s sliding effort. As Dominick Drexler’s penalty appeals were waved away at one end, Ruben Vargas was awarded a spot-kick at the other. Rafael Czichos brought the Augsburg man down, but Timo Horn stepped up and saved from André Hahn.
After that was a period of constant fouls, with both sides seeing yellow. The four bookings occurred inside a 15 minute period where Augsburg were on top. The visitors countered with pace out wide but FC managed to hang on. The biggest chance fell to Ruben Vargas after Niederlechner got in behind the backline, but his shot was well wide of the target.
The end of the first half was just as frenetic as it started. Rafael Czichos was sent off for a second yellow card as he brought down Florian Niederlechner when through on goal. Four minutes later, Augsburg made that advantage count as Philipp Max’s cross was deflected in by Niederlechner at the back post. However, Augsburg were also reduced to 10 men before the half was out as André Hahn was handed another booking for a high foot.
Kingsley Ehizibue and Florian Kainz came on for Marco Höger and Birger Verstraete at the break, as Markus Gisdol looked to spark a reaction. That was very nearly the case, as a loose ball in the box dropped for Sebastiaan Bornauw but he couldn’t find the target from close range. That was the only real opening in the first quarter of an hour, as the half began in tense fashion.
The middle of the half brought very little, as FC tried to find a way through a stubborn Augsburg backline. Simon Terodde headed over from close range after breaking free from his marker, while Jhon Cordoba headed straight at Tomas Koubek from a Florian Kainz free-kick. Kainz then tested the Czech stopper once more with a strong volley, and he was able to deny Cordoba again with his legs.
However, FC and Cordoba weren’t to be denied. The Colombian managed to race onto a long ball from Jonas Hector and round Koubek. He managed to evade the advances of Koubek again, before then firing past the desperate Jeffrey Gouweleeuw to send the stadium wild. Markus Gisdol’s men tried to fashion a late goal but came away with a point for their efforts.
FC make the trip to 1. FC Union Berlin next week, in another important game on Sunday afternoon at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
1. FC Köln (4-1-2-1-2): Horn – Schmitz, Bornauw, Czichos, Jakobs – Höger (Ehizibue 46‘) – Verstraete (Kainz 46‘), Hector – Drexler – Modeste (Cordoba 64‘), Terodde.
FC Augsburg (4-2-3-1): Koubek – Framberger (Lichtsteiner 27‘), Jedvaj, Gouweleeuw, Max – Baier, Khedira – Hahn, Niederlechner, Vargas (Jensen 84’) – Cordova (Moravek 58‘).
Goals: 0:1, Niederlechner 43’. 1:1, Cordoba 86’.
Referee: Tobias Stieler (Hamburg).
Booked: Czichos (8’ and 39‘), Verstraete (17’), Höger (20’), Hahn (23’ and 44‘), Max (45+1‘), Drexler (45+4’), Hector (62’), Cordoba (87’), Bornauw (90+3’).
Sent-off: Czichos (39‘), Hahn (44‘).