Markus Gisdol made three changes to the side that started the game against VfL Osnabrück before Christmas. Rafael Czichos, Elvis Rexhbecaj and Jan Thielmann replaced Dimitris Limnios, Anthony Modeste and Ismail Jakobs.
Heiko Herrlich also opted for three alterations from their Pokal clash against RB Leipzig before the break. Robert Gumny, Rani Khedira and Michael Gregoritsch all dropped to the bench and were replaced by Carlos Greuzo, Marco Richter and Florian Niederlechner.
The first game of 2021 brought little in the way of excitement early on. Florian Niederlechner had a goal disallowed for offside before Timo Horn had to be alert to deny Marco Richter’s effort at the near post. Otherwise, the game was largely a midfield battle with plenty of fouls that disrupted the flow of the game in the opening stages.
The latter stages of the second half saw FC go close to finding an opening goal. Ondrej Duda’s corner was met at the near post by Sebastiaan Bornauw, but Rafal Gikiewicz reacted well to deny the Belgian. The tackles and fouls continued but despite the late efforts of both sides, there was little to be seen in the way of clear-cut goal-mouth action.
The second-half was not too dissimilar to the first, with both teams showing good organisation in the backline to begin. Marius Wolf almost opened the deadlock after cutting inside and going for goal, yet his deflected effort was pushed over by Gikiewicz. At the other end, Daniel Caligiuri’s free-kick went close. Wolf then had FC’s best chance, yet he failed to find the target from 12 yards.
Niederlechner had another goal ruled out for offside as the game entered the final few minutes. Moments later, Augsburg had the lead. Niederlechner was the provider and picked out Iago in the middle, who finished off from close range. There were no further chances of note as the game ended with FC trying to find a late equaliser.
FC’s next game is on Saturday afternoon against SC Freiburg at 15:30 CET. Before that, Markus Gisdol’s men are involved in the DFB-Pokal last 16 draw on Sunday. The draw starts at 17:30 CET.
1. FC Köln (3-5-2): T. Horn – Meré, Bornauw, Czichos (Limnios 82’) – Wolf, Özcan (Drexler 82’), Skhiri, Rexhbecaj (Hector 62’), Katterbach (Arokodare 87’) – Thielmann (Modeste 62’), Duda.
FC Augsburg (3-4-3): Gikiewicz – Oxford, Gouweleeuw, Uduokhai – Caligiuri, Greuzo (Khedira 90+3’), Strobl, Iago – Richter (Gregoritsch 89’), Niederlechner, Vargas (Hahn 71’).
Goals: 0:1, Iago 77’.
Referee: Sören Storks (Velen).
Bookings: Uduokhai (12’), Modeste (64’), Gouweleeuw (64’), Bornauw (74’), Richter (85’).