Cologne - Whatever Anthony Modeste goes on to achieve in a 1. FC Köln shirt, the 27-year-old striker will forever be remembered as the man who brought an end to the Billy Goats’ seven-year Rhine derby hex.
The in-form Frenchman made the most of his one and only chance at the RheinEnergieStadion on Matchday 5 as Peter Stöger’s men belatedly got one over on local rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach with a hard-earned 1-0 win.
"Tony is red-hot," gushed Köln midfielder Leonardo Bittencourt after providing the assist for Modeste’s 64th-minute winner. "I could have launched the ball three metres into the air and he’d have still got on the end of it. Tony’s got a great nose for goal and has great timing. He got up high and put it away. That’s what he’s about."
Given his sparkling form, it is easy to see why Modeste is drawing superhuman comparisons. He has scored four times in five Bundesliga matches since leaving TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in the summer, with only FC Bayern München's Thomas Müller (six), Borussia Dortmund speedster Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and 1. FSV Mainz 05 midfielder Yunus Malli (both five) posting a greater number of Bundesliga goals in 2015/16.
"I’m feeling really good," Modeste explained. "The goal was important for me and the whole team. There’s a massive rivalry between the two clubs, so it’s nice to win a game like that and come away with the three points. After the defeat in Frankfurt it was important for us and the ideal preparation ahead of the Englische Woche."
'A quality player'
Fourth in the standings and already with just over a quarter of their total goals return from last season on the board, the Billy Goats go into their upcoming trip to Hertha Berlin enjoying their best start to a Bundesliga campaign in 26 years. It is perhaps too early to talk of Europe, but as long as Modeste keeps scoring, almost anything is possible.
"He’s a quality player," Stöger said in his post-derby interview. "He brings something to the side that we didn’t have last season. He’s quick and strong and he can play as a target man. He’s great to have around on and off the pitch. We’re really happy to have him here. He’s only going to get better and better."