Orel Mangala scored the 2020/21 season's fastest goal after just 24 seconds but Cologne clawed their way back into the game and Sebastian Andersson's penalty earned them a point with a 1-1 draw in Stuttgart on Friday.
Unbeaten in three games, Stuttgart had the momentum, though not even they could have expected to seize the initiative quite so quickly: Mangala sent a sidefoot finish into the top corner to give a first-minute team move the high-grade coup de grace it demanded. Daniel Didavi then struck the woodwork for the hosts as Cologne, winless in 20 league games at kick-off, looked in danger of sinking without a trace having barely touched the ball. Yet, having clambered off the canvas, they actually then enjoyed the better of the first half and when Atakan Karazor foolishly tangled with Andersson from a throw-in, the Sweden international equalised from the spot. Dimitris Limnios stung the hands of Gregor Kobel and Andersson nearly latched onto a short backpass as Stuttgart wobbled at the back. Going forward, they were fluid though, and Timo Horn was required to maintain parity at the break, rushing out to block Tanguy Coulibaly's chip after superb one-touch play from the hosts had sliced Cologne open.
Cologne reopened brightly and Korbel stood up to Andersson at his near post to kick away after the Swede helped on a cross. Korbel was relieved to see the ball ricochet off his water bottle beside the goal - and not see his net ripple - when Elvis Rexhbecaj's first-time drive flashed just wide with the Stuttgart 'keeper beaten. The hosts struggled to threaten after the interval, despite the introduction of last season's fit-again leading scorer, Nicolas Gonzalez, just before the hour mark. The Argentine did hit a post in the closing stages, but the offside flag went up anyway as Cologne claimed a deserved point.
- Mangala's goal came after just 24 seconds making it the fastest scored in the Bundesliga this season.
- It was the Stuttgart man's first top-flight goal in his 25th Bundesliga appearance.
- Stuttgart are unbeaten in four games, a stretch they never managed in their last top-flight campaign in 2018/19.
- Andersson scored his third Bundesliga penalty, though his first two were for Union Berlin. It was his first league goal since Matchday 1.
- Only Schalke are on a longer winless run than Cologne (21 Bundesliga matches).
Watch: Matarazzo: “We’re satisfied with the point”
Stuttgart: Kobel - Stenzel, Karazor, Kempf (Kaminski 34') - Silas (Massimo 57'), Mangala, Endo, Coulibaly (Gonzalez 56') - Castro (c), Didavi (Klement 74') - Kalajdzic (Churlinov 74')
Unused subs: Bredlow, Egloff, Klimowicz, Al Ghaddioui
Out: Anton (ankle), Awoudja (Achilles tendon), Mavropanos (knee), Mola (hip), Thommy (elbow)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Cologne: T. Horn (c) - Ehizibue (Limnios 17'), Bornauw, Czichos, J. Horn (Katterbach 81') - Skhiri, Rexhbecaj - Wolf, Duda (Özcan 81'), Jakobs - Andersson (Modeste 70')
Unused subs: Zieler, Schmitz, Mere, Drexler, Thielmann
Out: Clemens (thigh), Hector (neck), Höger (knee), Kainz (knee)
Coach: Markus Gisdol
Watch: Andersson: “I hope we can score first in the future”