Cologne and Anthony Modeste welcomed reigning Serie A champions AC Milan - minus the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic - to the RheinEnergieStadion on Saturday as a wide range of technology was debuted in an historic first Innovation Game.
In addition to the illustrious visitors, the match was a special occasion for another reason: dubbed an 'innovation game', it offered spectators a brand-new matchday experience, with players equipped with bodycams and microphones, while automated highlights and exciting data feeds were also on display. It gave insight into the workings of Steffen Baumgart and his side, while bringing fans closer to the action than ever before. It began with microphones catching the pre-match team talk from the Billy Goats, before Timo Hübers' bodycam put viewers in the thick of the action as he jostled with Milan defenders from a corner. The Italian side ultimately got the better of the first half, with Olivier Giroud scoring twice to make it 2-0 at the break.
Former Eintracht Frankfurt attacker Ante Rebic was a particular menace in the first 45, but Cologne kicked into gear after the interval. They could have halved the deficit on 54 minutes but Tim Lemperle lost his balance when one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Mark Uth also went close with 20 minutes to play, before Florian Dietz finally pulled one back. He rattled home from close range with four minutes to play, giving the hosts some late belief of a fightback. They weren't able to level, however, as Milan took the victory in a fascinating game both on and off the pitch.
Watch: Florian Dietz's goal against Milan seen from teammates' bodycam
- This was the first meeting of any kind - competitive or friendly - between these teams.
- Cologne have won five of their 17 encounters (three draws, nine defeats) against Italian opposition in competitive football, but the most recent of these was in the last 16 of the UEFA cup against Roma in 1982.
- Modeste was the Billy Goats' top scorer last season with 20 league goals; Giroud and Rafael Leao were Milan's sharpest shooters in the league with 11 each. Ibrahimovic scored eight.
- Milan won Italy's Serie A in 2021/22, ending a 10-year wait for the league title.
- Milan left-back Theo Hernandez is the younger brother of Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez.
- Rebic spent four years at Frankfurt between 2016 and 2020, scoring 22 times in 77 competitive outings. Summer signing Divock Origi also has a Bundesliga past, having netted six times in 31 Bundesliga games while on loan at Wolfsburg from Liverpool in 2017/18.
Cologne: Schwäbe - Schmitz (Ehizibue 46'), Hübers (Kilian 61'), Chabot (Martel 72'), Pedersen (Maina 72') - Skhiri (Arrey-Mbi 72'), Ljubicic (Schindler 28') (Olesen 72'), Kainz (Thielmann 72'), Adamyan (Lemperle 46') - Modeste (Dietz 78'), Uth (Hector 72')
Unused subs: Horn, Schwirten
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
Milan: Tatarusanu (Mirante 46') - Florenzi (Roback 62'), Kalulu (Coubis 62'), Gabbia, Ballo-Toure (Robotti 82') - Bakayoko (Brescianini 72'), Pobega (Bartesaghi 82') - Messias (Traore 62'), Diaz (Adli 46'), Rebic (Maldini 61') - Giroud (Michelis 62')
Unused subs: Gala, Stanga
Out: Ibrahimovic (knee)
Coach: Stefano Pioli
Watch: Steffen Baumgart gives pitch-side instructions to Mark Uth
Live blog - As it happened!
THE SUBS COMBINE!
GOAL!1 : 2
MODESTE MAKES WAY
MILAN CHASE A THIRD GOAL
HERE WE GO AGAIN!
GOAL!0 : 2
KAINZ FROM DOWNTOWN
MILAN STRIKE FIRST
GOAL!0 : 1
COLOGNE STARTING XI
MILAN STARTING XI
COLOGNE'S MILAN TEST
NEW FAN EXPERIENCE
WELCOME ALONG !
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