Cologne extended their winless run to 17 Bundesliga games as former Billy Goat Leonardo Bittencourt struck from the penalty spot to cancel out a Niklas Moisander own-goal and earn Werder Bremen a 1-1 draw on Friday.
With the possibility of going fourth in the table by extending their unbeaten run with a third win of the season, Bremen must have been optimistic given Cologne had picked up just two points from their opening six matches of the campaign. The hosts, however, lacked a cutting edge in the opening 45 minutes. It probably would have been different had Jean-Manuel Mbom not been denied by the onrushing Timo Horn after latching onto Marius Wolf's underhit backpass with barely a minute on the clock. Horn was replaced by Ron-Robert Zieler later in the first half, possibly as a consequence of the heavy collision with Mbom, but Bremen were still not able to find a way through. Josh Sargent, who got Bremen's goal in their draw with Eintracht Frankfurt last time out, had a shot blocked and Mbom curled an effort over the crossbar, but the hosts looked surprisingly short of ideas.
Sargent almost stole in behind Salih Özcan, but the Cologne defender held off the USMNT forward while the ever-inspired Milot Rashica fired over as Bremen stepped out into the second half in brisk fashion. Sebastian Andersson is always a threat too and the Sweden international brought a first significant save from Jiri Pavlenka with a header that - either side of the Czech Republic international - would have stretched him much further. The Bremen number one could do nothing as Moisander turned Ondrej Duda's inswinging free-kick into his own net from close range. Substitute Tahith Chong forced Zieler into his first real stop with less than 15 minutes left, and it was the on-loan Manchester United youngster's cross that was handled by Sebastiaan Bornauw to allow Bittencourt to deny his former club a long-awaited win. Sargent might even have won it for the hosts, but his header from Theo Gebre Selassie's cross was straight at a grateful Zieler as Bremen drew their fourth straight match.
- Bittencourt scored from the penalty spot for the first time in the Bundesliga.
- Cologne conceded their fifth penalty of the campaign, a league-high.
- Moisander's own goal was Bremen's 62nd in the Bundesliga, another league-high.
- Timo Horn had played every minute of his previous 85 Bundesliga appearances, the second-longest such streak in the division behind Yann Sommer.
- Cologne are hovering unnervingly close to their negative club record of 18 top-flight games without a win.
Watch: Bittencourt: "We should've got more from the game"
Bremen: Pavlenka - Toprak (Möhwald 74'), Moisander (c), Friedl - Gebre Selassie, Eggestein, Groß, Mbom (Chong 74') - Bittencourt, Rashica (Osako 65') - Sargent
Unused subs: Kapino, Rieckmann, Schmid, Gruev, Erras, Woltemade
Out: Agu (not included), Augustinsson (thigh), Füllkrug (calf), Selke (groin)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
Cologne: T. Horn (c) (Zieler 40') - Wolf, Bornauw, Czichos, Katterbach (J. Horn 73') - Özcan - Limnios (Rexhbecaj 64'), Duda, Drexler (Thielmann 73'), Jakobs - Andersson
Unused subs: Ehizibue, Mere, Sorensen, Skhiri, Arokodare
Out: Hector (neck), Kainz (knee), Modeste (thigh), Schmitz (ankle)
Coach: Markus Gisdol