Hallo Hennes!

1.FC Köln 3-1 SV Sandhausen

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King Hennes VIII and his faithful Köln footballers provided great entertainment for me on Saturday, with the Billy Goats securing a 3-1 victory over Bundesliga 2 strugglers SV Sandhausen. My visit to the RheinEnergieSTADION meant I was unable to attend the Old Centralians v Marlborough crunch fixture; the scoreline is still a mystery.

Despite being partially disabled thanks to training with SV Deutz 05 3rd XI the night before, I somehow managed to make my way to the ground (with the help of Jupp, our tour guide navigating the complex tram system.) Prior to kick-off, Jupp, dad and I enjoyed a classic German Currywurst to wet the appetite for what was to be a great game of football.  We also received a free bag of paprika crisps from a man dressed as such: a nice touch.

After a swift trip to the club shop, we set out for our seats. With a bit of time to spare we took in the atmosphere and watched as the Sandhausen players undertook a Bobby Wilkinson warm-up classic: The 1-2 and Shoot! Hennes VIII, the much-loved goat mascot paraded the pitch, to everyone’s delight. FC Köln, sitting 2nd in the table needed to take the points to keep up on the heels of Hamburg, whilst Sandhausen were looking for a 4th win of the campaign.

Having found our seats, the pre-game sing-song was imminent. Suddenly, the pipes from The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond rung around the stadion. ‘Mer stonn zo dir, FC Kolle’ they cheered, with myself joining in to sing the bit I could do: ‘FC Kolle’. After waving Jupp’s scarf around a bit, the game was ready to begin.

The men from the suburbs of Heidelberg came out with fight and looked a good side. Andrew Wooten, the American marksman up-top for SV looked sharp and after just 4 minutes, connected a sweet header which found the corner of the net. However, Köln came back and were much the better side in the first-half. Cult hero Simon Terrode, perhaps a goat himself (according to Jupp), played the Harry Goodger role up front. Captain Jonas Hector playing at left back looked a class act whilst Dominick Drexler impressed in the centre of the park.

However, the score remained 0-1 when the half-time whistle blew. I managed to sneak a a pit-stop in despite the supposedly dismal toilette situation and Jupp refilled the Kölsch cups.

When the second-half commenced, it seemed only a matter of time before the Billy Goats got on level terms. The goal came on 49 minutes with a Dominick Drexler goal scrambled in at the back post. After equalising, Köln failed to push forward, despite having the line-share of possession. It all got a bit frantic and the Kölle fans called for Anthony Modeste to be brought on.

‘Modeste, Modeste, Anthony Modeste’, they roared. The Blackburn flop was eventually introduced on 78 minutes when he replaced Simon Terrode. Within 5 minutes, I could see why he was such a hero. He ambled, Goodger-esque to the back-post, completely unmarked and nodded in a simple header. Impact. The corner-flag went flying as Modeste kicked it and the Köln fans went ballistic. 2-1.

With virtually the last kick of the game, Modeste doubled his tally after Sandhausen substitute Jesper Verlaat failed to deal with a looping route one boot up field. Modeste latched onto the loose ball and finished with the poise you’d expect from a man who learnt his trade at Blackburn. 3-1.

All in all, it was a fantastic game, with a fantastic atmosphere. All 49,000 fans in the ground were giving it their all and their carnival spirits were well on display. I’ll be back to witness a Simon Terrode hat-trick against Bayern or Dortmund next season. Uppa Köln.

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