Rafael van der Vaart failed to get the better of Köln keeper Timo Horn at the RheinEnergieStadion
Rafael van der Vaart failed to get the better of Köln keeper Timo Horn at the RheinEnergieStadion

Köln and HSV share spoils in goalless draw

Cologne – A scrappy affair at the RheinEnergieStadion ended in a goalless draw between top-flight newcomers 1. FC Köln and Bundesliga ever-presents Hamburger SV.

Scrappy opening

Köln keeper Timo Horn pulled off several smart saves from Rafael van der Vaart and Ivo Ilicevic, while Rene Adler had to be on his toes to keep out Anthony Ujah in the second half. Ultimately, however, both sides had to make do with a share of the spoils in their first game of the 2014/15 season.

There was little to choose between the two sets of players in a cautious opening to the match, with both sides getting plenty of men behind the ball in an attempt to frustrate their opponents. HSV captain Van der Vaart went closest to scoring in the first quarter of an hour, but he failed to get the better of Horn with two efforts from the edge of the penalty box.

The hosts were also restricted to long-range shots, with midfielder Daniel Halfar among those to try his luck. The midfielder’s 17th-minute effort was well struck, but it failed to trouble Adler. Miso Brecko saw another powerful shot fly over the Hamburg crossbar before, at the other end, Horn did well to prevent Heiko Westermann from getting a clear sight at goal.

Horn stands firm

Goalscoring opportunities continued to be few and far between as the half wore on. Van der Vaart again failed to trouble the Köln keeper with a shot from the edge of the area, before Tolgay Arslan sliced an ambitious volley high, wide and not very handsomely into the crowd. In truth, the 24-year-old’s speculative effort summed up a largely uneventful opening half.

The hosts had Horn to thank for keeping the score level at the beginning of the second period. Moments after the 21-year-old had saved Ilicevic’s goalbound header, the young stopper was out quickly to smother the ball at the feet of the Croatian midfielder, who failed to pick out Lasogga in the area after forcing his way through the Billy Goats’ rearguard.

Plenty of effort, no end product

Nigerian striker Ujah and Japan’s Yuya Osako had seen little of the ball up to this point, but both players had chances to put Peter Stöger’s side ahead shortly before the hour mark. Ujah arguably should have done better with a header from Halfar’s cross, before the Japanese World Cup star blasted wide on the half volley from a promising position.

Those two opportunities appeared to instil a greater sense of self-belief in the hosts, who started to move forward with more urgency in the closing stages. However, apart from Marcel Risse’s late shot which was palmed out of harm’s way by Adler, the Bundesliga newcomers failed to trouble the HSV defence for the remainder of the match, which ultimately petered out into a goalless draw.

Line-ups and statistics

Matthew Howarth