Flags swiveling in front of their cheering fans stoked double packers Anthony Modeste and his irresistible Cologne team only the anticipation of the return to Europe.
Steffen Baumgart’s passionate combination kicker are unmistakably ripe for the international prestige appearances. “We are hot! I’m really hot for this Europa League season, which we may have before us next year,” announced ball distributor Mark Uth after the impressive 4: 1 (2: 0) at FC Augsburg. “We want to win the last two games very clearly and then safely move into the Europa League.”
In front of the two final games against Wolfsburg and Stuttgart, the Cologne team – with only one point ahead of Union Berlin – climbed six in the table. First of all, he would only pave the way to the Europa Conference League. However, since the two DFB Cup finalists SC Freiburg and RB Leipzig are still in front of the Cologne, ideally, six can also be enough for the more lucrative Europa League.
The belief in the first return to Europe after 2017 has long been present with coach Baumgart and his team. “Did you see the performance?” The man with the slide hat replied to a corresponding reporter question. “Then we believe.”
The Cologne team were good. They were really good. Jan Thielmann (12th minute) and Uth (15th), the Augsburgers, who at least have practically secure relegation, made shock rigid in front of 29,511 spectators.
After a foul in the sixteen of Jeffrey Gouweleeuw to Modeste, the striker himself made everything clear in the 63rd minute. The Frenchman promptly countered the goal by substitute Florian Niederlechner (73rd) with his 19th goal of the season (77th). A week after his unusual and much criticized goal celebration, when he kept his own coffee in the camera, Modeste simply continued to score.
“We sometimes played so well when it becomes scary whether you can hold that. The boys did it excellently over long stretches of the game,” said Baumgart. “I’m surprised myself.”
The Cologne fans were in jubilation early in this fast -paced game. After the double strike, they sang: “We are playing again in the European Cup.” And even around 30 minutes after the final whistle, they still scanded in the ranks and were all the more fun when Modeste & Co. stepped in front of their curve.
“Sometimes it is difficult for me to find words. I’m just enthusiastic,” said Baumgart. His statement could not only be understood as a summary of his team but also in front of the fans. 52 points after 32 match days are record for the Cologne team in times of the three-point rule.
“I am like the team in the flow,” said the 1.78 meter small offensive player Thielmann, who stubbornly prepared the 2-0 when he won the header duel against the 1.93 meter defender Reece Oxford in the penalty area and thus the template for UTH delivered.
“I think: the whole season is just good,” said Baumgart satisfied. And with the tangible return to Europe, it even gets a little bit better.