Catch up with no happy ending – Sport

1. FC Cologne – OGC Nice 2:2

Despite an emotional run to catch up with OGC Nice, 1. FC Köln did not go beyond a draw and were knocked out of the Europa Conference League. Coach Steffen Baumgart’s side parted 2-2 (0-2) against the French south on Thursday night – but they should have won. Cologne’s goals from Denis Huseinbasic (48th minute) and Ondrej Duda (60th) in a furious second half just weren’t enough.

FC, who were the only German team to be knocked out of the European Cup (even Leverkusen are still there), must now focus on the Bundesliga after European Cup and DFB Cup elimination Gaëtan Laborde (40.) and Billal Brahimi (43rd) scored the Nice goals.

The first leg nearly two months ago was overshadowed by riots and fights in the stands. This time, the police prevented an argument outside the stadium, according to their own statements. Before the match, carnival hits and Rhenish folklore dominated the events in the arena. The Cologne supporters received their team with a beautiful choreography. And it had its effect.

First shock just before half-time: Gaetan Laborde scored the opener for Nice in front of two players from Cologne.

(Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

The Cologne found the game well and quickly. As usual, Baumgart’s team played aggressively and fought hard. The technically experienced French should not even be allowed to enter the game. Cologne also had the first very good luck. Steffen Tigges (26th) failed with his header to goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. But the guests always remained dangerous. Favre’s team had a clear plan: after recovering the ball, they had to move forward quickly. Twice it went too fast for Cologne. A failed clearance from Pedersen ended with Laborde, who dribbled past Ellyes Skhiri and converted with his left. Three minutes later, Florian Kainz then lost the ball on the halfway line. The guests used it for a quick counterattack, which Brahimi successfully completed.

What a mood lifter just before the break – one might have thought. But instead of emerging from the locker room in frustration, the Cologne team boldly stormed off. Sargis Adamyan had a huge chance in the 47th minute, and Schmeichel parried his shot superbly. A minute later, the Dane looked worse. He couldn’t fend off a shot from Huseinbasic from the small corner – suddenly it was 1:2. And then the people of Cologne took the audience on a wild ride.

The FC pushed, he wanted it with all his might. After a flat cross, Duda collected the ball in the penalty area, turned quickly and fired in the goal to make it 2-2. Now the stadium was in turmoil. Seconds later it got even stronger: but Adamyan’s supposed 3-2 was disallowed for offside. There was no happy ending.

European Cup: Almost Christmas mood in Baku: Did Abdellah Zoubir (left) and Noah Weißhaupt from Freiburg notice anything in the lights?

Almost a Christmas spirit in Baku: Did Abdellah Zoubir (left) and Noah Weißhaupt from Freiburg see the lights playing?

(Photo: TOFIK BABAYEV/AFP)

Qarabag Agdam 1-1 SC Freiburg

SC Freiburg ended the Europa League group stage after conceding a late goal with a draw but no loss. The Bundesliga side, who were already group winners before the final matchday, drew 1-1 (1-0) with Qarabag Agdam, despite the sporting club being outnumbered for more than half -hour. Freiburg, almost completely upset, first benefited from a penalty transformed by the veteran Petersen (25th minute). A supposed goal from the locals was not recognized due to an offside position (56th). In addition, the referee withdrew a penalty shortly before. After the change of camp, Kevin Medina saw the red card after a tough tackle against Kevin Schade (62nd). The three decisions against Karabakh were made after the intervention of the video assistant. Nevertheless, the home team still managed to equalise. Owusu Kwabena equalized in added time (90+1).

In addition to the Breisgauers, FC Nantes from group G also spends the winter in the Europa League. Since the French Cup winners also won in the side game at Olympiakos Piraeus, Agdam fell back to third place. It is not yet clear who the Freiburg team will play against in the next round. The draw will take place on February 24, 2023.

Due to the good starting position, the only thing that mattered to Freiburg was finishing the group stage in a friendly fashion. Coach Christian Streich made it clear before the start that he didn’t want to leave the match without a fight. “It goes without saying that we give it our all,” he said. After all, it’s still something for the other teams, Streich said.

Nonetheless, he moved up ten positions in the Bundesliga game from the 2-0 win at FC Schalke 04, giving a break to many top players who have been under a lot of pressure lately. Only captain Christian Günter remained in the starting XI. Lucas Höler, who was cleared for the first time after surviving a broken metatarsal, had minor adjustment issues. He lost the ball on his first action in front of his own penalty area, but Owusu Kwabena was refused by Noah Atubolu (5th). The 20-year-old replaced first-choice keeper Mark Flekken.

The hosts were the most active team as the missing automatisms were clearly recognizable at the sports club. Processes and walking routes were always wrong. And yet, after surviving the pressure phase, Freiburg applauded. Petersen kept his cool from the penalty spot and scored his first competitive goal since April 10.

Until the change of camp, the pros of Streich controlled the game a little better. They were lucky shortly after the restart when the referee twice ruled offside after consulting the video referee. Outnumbered, Karabakh managed to reward themselves with a draw for their fighting performance.

European Cup: Beautiful and extremely important: Sven Michel scores the winning goal for Union Berlin

Beautiful and extremely important: Sven Michel scores the winning goal for Union Berlin

(Photo: Sebastian Räppold/Matthias Koch/Imago)

Royal Union Saint-Gilloise – Union Berlin 0:1

Union Berlin’s triumphant season continues after the minimalist fourth successive Europa League victory. The leaders of the Bundesliga won 1-0 (1-0) at the Belgian vice-champion Royale Union Saint-Gilloise on Thursday evening and thus ensured access to the round of 16 of the competition. In front of around 6,000 spectators at the Den Dreef stadium in Leuven – including a few Unioners – Sven Michel (6th minute) fired the Irons to victory in his second starting XI of the season. At the end of the group stage, the Köpenickers led by coach Urs Fischer took second place in Group D behind the Belgians, who had already won the group, and ahead of Sporting Braga (Portugal).

After a poor start to the Europa League with two defeats, Union have won four games in a row – all 1-0. In the round of 16 next February, the Berliners now have an attractive opponent: FC Barcelona, ​​Juventus Turin or Ajax Amsterdam are among the possible. The draw will take place next Monday.

A lawsuit brought by the capital against the ban on entering the city of Leuven for Union fans was dismissed before the match. Union had been barred from allocating away tickets for the fixture due to earlier failures of parts of the schedule. Nevertheless, Union fans had traveled on their own initiative. Some of them entered the stadium. Their chants could be heard in the second half.

Coach Fischer showed a good touch by bringing Christopher Trimmel and Michel into the starting XI. At first, Captain Trimmel prevented a bullet from passing in the direction of Sheraldo Becker. Michel put his center in the goal with a jump shot against the direction of Saint-Gilloise goalkeeper Anthony Moris.

A game developed with many difficult duels and low chances of scoring. The solid Belgians came into play better after around 20 minutes. The Köpenickers defended the attacks most of the time with confidence, but were lucky that Saint-Gilloise didn’t act more consistently with a few technical errors. After the break, Union had to change goalkeepers: Lennart Grill replaced the injured Frederik Rönnow. The 23-year-old Grill flew over a cross shortly after the restart. Simon Adingra’s shot misses the frame (51′). After an error by the Belgian defense, Becker missed the great opportunity to score the second goal (61st). The Berliners have increasingly focused on getting the result in time. Shortly before the end, Robin Knoche blocked a shot from needy substitute Victor Boniface.

It was the last test – after that, the fourth consecutive 1-0 international was certain.

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