1. FC Köln got their season off to a winning start with a comfortable 2-0 victory at home to SV Darmstadt 98.
A bright start from Köln produced the first goal of the afternoon inside ten minutes. Equal measures of skill and good fortune played their part as Leonardo Bittencourt danced into the Darmstadt area, before sliding an intelligent ball across the box for the unmarked Marcel Risse to stroke beyond Michael Esser. Darmstadt rarely threatened from open play and were rather fortunate not to go in at the break trailing by an even greater deficit, with Anthony Modeste heading narrowly wide following a fine run and cross from Köln captain Matthias Lehmann.
Weather warnings were in place before the match and the referee duly lead the players off the pitch at the first flash of lightning early in the second half. With the home fans serving up a carnival atmosphere during that brief hiatus, the Köln players responded in kind once play resumed. Artjoms Rudnevs ghosted inside from the right-hand side and arrowed an effort towards goal that appeared to be going well wide until the unmarked Modeste stuck out a boot to put the contest beyond the visiting Lilies.
Köln head coach Peter Stöger said this was his "strongest ever squad" before the game, and on the evidence of this showing, he might well be right. Can the Billy Goats challenge for a European place in 2016/17?
- Risse score twice in last season's corresponding fixture.Köln lined up with their oldest starting eleven (27 years, 3 months) since April 2014.Modeste has scored two goals in as many competitive games this season (one in the DFB Cup and one in the Bundesliga).
Köln: Horn - Sörensen, Mavraj, Maroh, Hector - M. Lehmann (c.), Höger - Risse, Bittencourt (Zoller 74') - Rudnevs (Osako 69'), Modeste (Jojic 86')
Coach: Peter Stöger
Darmstadt: Esser - Fedetskyy (Sirigu 57'), Milosevic, Höhn, Holland - Gondorf (c.), Kleinheisler (Oliinyk 85') - Ben-Hatira (Jungwirth 69') , Vrancic, Heller - Schipplock
Coach: Norbert Meier