Markus Gisdol made two changes to the starting line-up from the game against Eintracht Frankfurt. Kingsley Ehizibue and Ismail Jakobs started ahead of Salih Özcan and Jannes Horn, who dropped to the bench.
Pellegrino Matarazzo also opted for two alterations following the draw against Hertha BSC last weekend. Marc Oliver Kempf and Gonzalo Castro replaced Atakan Karazor and Erik Thommy.
The early knockings in Müngersdorf were between two sides embroiled in a midfield battle, with neither making an ventures into the box count for much. The first real opening of note fell to Ondrej Duda after good work from Ellyes Skhiri and Kingsley Ehizibue, but he fired over from 10 yards out.
The remainder of the first half saw little in the way of chances for both. FC threatened to break late on but Marc Oliver Kempf’s foul prevented Ondrej Duda and Emmanuel Dennis from breaking clear. An even first half ended all-square.
The second-half had barely begun before Stuttgart took the lead. Sasa Kalajdzic managed to glance home a Borna Sosa free-kick after 49 minutes. Timo Horn then had to be alert to deny Silas Wamangituka at his near post five minutes later. FC finally had their first real effort at goal when Elvis Rexhbecaj fired wide from long range.
Max Meyer and Salih Özcan came on to give FC new live and the two combined to set Emmanuel Dennis through on goal. The Nigerian international fired over the bar from close range. Salih Özcan’s spectacular effort then cannoned off the crossbar, with Gisdol’s men doing all of the late pushing. Unfortunately, there would be no late equaliser. FC are next in action against FC Bayern Munich next Saturday at 15:30 CET.
1. FC Köln (3-5-2): T. Horn – Cestic (Drexler 61’), Meré, Czichos – Ehizibue (Özcan 69’), Wolf, Rexhbecaj, Skhiri, Jakobs – Dennis, Duda (Meyer 69’).
VfB Stuttgart (3-4-2-1): Kobel – Mavropanos (Karazor 84’), Anton, Kempf – Wamangituka (Stenzel 84’), Endo, Mangala, Sosa – Förster (Coulibaly 74’), Castro (Thommy 66’) – Kalajdzic (Klimowicz 74’).
Goals: 0:1, Kalajdzic 49’.
Referee: Benjamin Cortus (Röthenbach).
Bookings: Cestic (19’), Kempf (29’), Czichos (86’).
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