Anthony Modeste scored his 14th Bundesliga goal of the season as Cologne beat fellow top-six rivals Freiburg 1-0 on Matchday 21.
Cologne began the stronger of the two sides and appeared to be a yard sharper than Freiburg from the outset. They controlled the midfield and never let their visitors serious trouble goalkeeper Marvin Schwäbe in the first half, while giving their guests plenty to think about at the opposite end of the pitch. Modeste fired off the first warning in the 21st minute with a header from Jan Thielmann’s cross that sailed wide of the post, but the same duo combined again moments later to give the Billy Goats the lead. Thielmann led a counter-attack, sprinting through the centre before laying it off to his left to Modeste, who curled a brilliant effort into the far corner from the edge of the box. Dejan Ljubicic almost doubled Cologne’s lead with a near identical strike from a similar position, but his effort curled just wide of the upright.
Freiburg coach Christian Streich brought on Roland Sallai at the interval and the midfielder had the ball in the net within moments of the restart, but his finish from Christian Günter’s low cross was disallowed for offside following a VAR review. Cologne wrestled control after that, with Modeste attempting a sideways scissor kick and Florian Kainz seeing his goal-bound effort blocked by Nico Schlotterbeck. It wasn’t until the closing stages that the away side managed to exert any sustained pressure, and Günter went close to equalising with a thumping long-range drive that Schwäbe did well to tip around the post. That was as close as they would come though, as Cologne held on to move to within a point of Freiburg in the table.
Watch: Modeste on his "favourite opponents" Freiburg
- Modeste now has six goals in his last six games, and also has six in as many matches against Freiburg.
- Christian Günter made his 100th successive start in the Bundesliga, the longest current such run of any player.
- Benno Schmitz made his 50th Bundesliga appearance for Cologne.
- Cologne were in front at half-time of a home game for the first time since 31 January 2021.
- The result means the teams now have an identical head-to-head record in the Bundesliga: 13 wins apiece, and six draws.
Cologne: Schwäbe - Schmitz, Kilian, Hübers, Hector (c) - Özcan - Thielmann (Schindler 85'), Ljubicic (J. Horn 77'), Kainz (Schaub 85') - Modeste (Andersson 85'), Uth (Duda 64')
Unused subs: T. Horn, Ehizibue, Chabot, Ostrak
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
Freiburg: Flekken - Kübler (Schmid 81'), Lienhart, N. Schlotterbeck, Günter (c) - Schade (Sallai 46'), Eggestein (Petersen 81'), Höfler, Grifo - Demirovic (Jeong 61'), Höler
Unused subs: Uphoff, Gulde, Keitel, Haberer, K. Schlotterbeck
Coach: Christian Streich
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