Markus Gisdol made five changes from the defeat against TSG Hoffenheim last weekend. Jorge Meré, Rafael Czichos, Elvis Rexhbecaj, Ismail Jakobs and Emmanuel Dennis replaced Sava-Arangel Cestic, Sebastiaan Bornauw, Kingsley Ehizibue, Jonas Hector and Dominick Drexler.
Uwe Neuhaus opted for just the one alteration after Arminia’s loss to Eintracht Frankfurt. Sven Schipplock replaced Sergio Cordova up front.
FC were the brighter side as the game began and had two chances in quick succession, as Ismail Jakobs’ shot from a half-cleared corner was blocked. Ondrej Duda hammered the rebound wide. The breakthrough didn’t take long, however. Stefan Ortega brilliantly saved Ellyes Skhiri’s header, only for the rebound to drop straight to Marius Wolf. He fired home from close range for a deserved lead.
Bielefeld started to come into the tussle after that and were looking dangerous from set-pieces. Sven Schipplock missed Fabian Klos’ header at the back post, before Timo Horn made a spectacular save to claw the striker’s header out of the top corner. FC were still looking dangerous themselves, yet the pass and shot at the final moment was lacking.
Markus Gisdol’s men continued to put on the pressure and were rewarded for their efforts. After a shot was blocked, the ball dropped to Marius Wolf and he slapped the rebound past the helpless Ortega to double FC’s lead. A late Reinhold Yabo chance went wide of the right-hand upright as the two-goal advantage remained into half-time.
The second-half continued to go to and fro, as the two teams went toe-to-toe once more. Ristu Doan had the ball in the back of the net early on, only to be disallowed for a handball by Fabian Klos in the build-up. FC managed to find a third, though. A superb through ball from Ellyes Skhiri saw Emmanuel Dennis make space for Elvis Rexhbecaj to stay cool, calm and slot into the back of the net.
Arminia wanted to try and find a way back into the game late on and found a way through after Fabian Klos teed up Sergio Cordova to tap in from close range. Back and forward went the ball as Arminia opened up to rescue something, yet the closest they came was Cebio Soukou hitting the post. FC are in action again on Wednesday, as they travel to SSV Jahn Regensburg in the DFB-Pokal.
1. FC Köln (3-4-2-1): T. Horn – Meré, Czichos, J. Horn – Wolf, Skhiri, Rexhbecaj (Meyer 89’), Katterbach – Duda (Drexler 69’), Jakobs (Özcan 83’) – Dennis (Thielmann 83’).
Arminia Bielefeld (4-4-2): Ortega – Brunner, Pieper (van der Hoorn 88’), Nilsson, Laursen – Doan, Kunze, Hartel (Seufert 86’), Yabo (Soukou 62’) – Klos, Schipplock (Cordova 62‘).
Goals: 1:0, Wolf 9’. 2:0, Wolf 28’. 3:0, Rexhbecaj 63’. 3:1, Cordova 73’.
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Berlin).
Bookings: Jakobs (42’), Heldt (42’), Duda (54’), Soukou (64’).
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