Selke strike settles Darmstadt as Koln climb out from Relegation in Cold #1933

Koln 1 Darmstadt 0FT

Eliot Ben-Ner
10 min readDec 2, 2023

On a Bundesliga Friday night we find ourselves in one of the smaller cities in Darmstadt. A wonderful city That’s not too big nor too small a perfect medium. A city known for good infrastructure as well as the technical university of Darmstadt a research university that is among the best not only in Germany but in europe. While it isn’t a huge city with notable landmarks, they’re still plenty the city has to offer. Many tourists venture to the Vortex garden Very creative and very beautiful sites of nature. A privately owned garden that is owned by the city and that has been one of the cities main attractions. In addition to that, the city has a bit of history that can be explored The Ludwigshöhe is a former Nazi lookout tower with an incredible view of Rhine Island. It also has some religious aspects and landmarks such as the Russian chapel in Darmstadt an incredibly visibly beautiful church. However, the most intriguing part of this city is perhaps Darmstadt Railway museum a 1898 German railroad Depot museum with working engines, steam trains, excursions and hands-on displays. It may not be the most interesting city in Germany, but still a fine place to live with plenty to do in the spare time. However, on this Friday night it would be the setting of a Bundesliga clash between Darmstadt and Koln as we are here at the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor. On display this evening would be a relegation six pointer. 15th place Darmstadt and 18th place Koln. Both of these sides desperate need of points. Darmstadt has only two wins on the season with their last victory being on October the 7th. The newly promoted side has struggled out of the gates and will be in for a battle the entire duration of the campaign. They have found life difficult in their return to the Bundesliga. A poor result here this evening could result and then being dragged down. On the other hand Koln has only one victory of the season having struggled immensely since losing Ellyes Skhiri to Frankfurt with no identity in midfield and a lack of components elsewhere. They beat Gladbach on October 22nd They will be in the fight for their lives all campaign long. Any inch they can grab they must two teams in dire situations battle it out only one of them will be in the relegation zone after the final whistle. A critical battle in a fundamental part of this Bundesliga season.

17,800 in attendance here in Darmstadt. It was expected to be perhaps a miserable night. At the time a kickoff it was 32° F and 0° c freezing temperature. It was snowing, cold and miserable. Darmstadt sang in cold giving their side the home support as well as the visitors as Koln supporters shimmyed together in a corner of the stadium as they waived flags of red through the sky. Darmstadt wanted to make an early statement but It was the visitors that carried early momentum. In the second minute Jan Thielmann found the space to excel forward into the box as he fired a strike that deflected off of the defense. Not only was the air cold but the ball was too. Koln maintained a slight advantage in the possessional sense. They did have a bit more of the ball. Not a huge advantage but enough to make a difference on a cold night. They move the ball into danger areas as much as it could. But again, the effects of the coldness certainly played a factor. In the 10th minute Darmstadt looked from the distance as Tim Skarke outside the box wasn’t being closed down or marked very tightly with the space he hit the deep strike only to see his effort fly into the crowd. Koln fought back In the 15th minute. Florian Kainz had a similar idea after retrieving the ball from Selke Kainz strikes as his hooks over the corner failed to keep it down Florian Kainz was Koln’s best player last season with 16 goal contributions. He’s capable of hitting from those types of distances, however in the cold, perhaps it’s a different challenge. Less than 10 minutes later. Koln was on the hunt again. After failing with a look deep Koln looked to take advantage of the wide spaces. In the 22nd minute Chabot delivers a hooking cross from the right side. It lands in the space of Davie Selke as the striker leads with his head but couldn’t get there as it remains level. 2 minutes later in the 24th minute shortly after Koln won themselves a corner Florian Kainz connected with Dejan Ljubicic as the midfielder takes a wild strike from outside the box in what was an incredibly difficult equation Truthfully, both sides found it difficult to get anything going. The circumstances were complicated very complicated. Nevertheless, both sets of supporters continued to make noise and create an atmosphere for their respective sides. It wasn’t until the late stages of the first half to which we saw potential scoring opportunities. In the 41st minute Aaron Seydel shredded the ball out to Mathias Honsak as they fire from close range but the defense didn’t exceptional job of putting pressure on Honsak forcing a deflection however, Fabian Holland picked up the rebound before a look from distance but it was nowhere near. This would end the first half with a goalless draw after 45 minutes on a bitterly cold evening.

Still plenty of time to find a winner. A point spared does neither team any good. The weather played a role as the degrees continue to dip they’ve been out there for 45 minutes time to adapt to the circumstances and make something happen for one of the respective sides. The fans doing everything they can to stay warm as they continually making their present felt. Between the two sides Koln was slightly the better in the first half. However, Darmstadt had a strong start to the second half. An early chance in the 47th minute would set the tone. Tim Skarke collected from Mathis Honsak as they move the ball effectively, Tim Skarke took a swipe at a long distance effort Marvin Schwäbe extends making the necessary save. However, It was well taken by Tim Skarke. Several minutes later Darmstadt looked to cash in from close range. In the 53rd minute Darmstadt put forth the best chance of the match thus far. Aaron Seydel leads with his head from inside the box attempting to beat Marvin Schwäbe at the right post the Koln goalkeeper gets his hand on it but Darmstadt was nearly there. The closest thing we have seen to a legitimate goal scoring opportunity. However, it awakened Koln in the second half. 3 minutes later in the 56th minute Dejan Ljubicic struck a ball at the side of the box only for Marcel Schuhen to get his hands on it. Almost immediately after Koln got themselves in another position to score in the 58th minute Luca Waldschmidt struck at a very difficult angle. It was a nice idea but ends up falling in the hands of Marcel Schuhen. The match was really starting to pick up now. Following the save by Marcel Schuhen Koln won themselves a corner. Both Koln and Darmstadt have been at each other’s throats on this cold evening. Eventually a breakthrough was going to have to come. We finally arrived at that moment. In the 59th minute Florian Kainz delivers a ball into the box It looked as if he put a bit too much on it. It whips past the goalkeeper and defense however Davie Selke arrives at the back post with a sliding strike as he flails his foot across the ball into the back of the net as Koln take the 1–0 lead. The deadlock was finally broken in these freezing temperatures as the home support was stunned into silence. Selke exploded with incredible emotions running towards the sideline conversing and embrace with his teammates and manager as he drops to his knees. It’s unclear why he was so emotional, but he found the moment that gave his side to lead.8 minutes later in the 67th minute it looked like Koln had doubled their lead. Luca Waldschmidt on the break, sends a blistering strike down the middle past Marcel Schuhen. However, a video review took place as it showed Luca Waldschmidt was narrowly offsides. A minute later in the 68th minute, a free kick would be rewarded to Darmstadt Tobias Kempe stepped over the ball but unintentionally put far too much power onto it has it glides over. Drama would ensue in the 70th minute Fabian Nurnberger takes a strike from outside the box that hits the arm of Timo Hübers a penalty was initially given. However, on review it showed that the 27-year-old had his arms in a natural position as the block shot hits his shoulder as the penalty would be waived off. In the late stages of the match on this cold night, we get into the deep end with not much time remaining. In the 88th minute Jan Thielmann finds Luca Waldschmidt as they try to kill off the game for Koln but Marcel Schuhen is there! In the 90th minute Matej Maglica works it from distance only to see his effort blocked and deflected away. Koln was minutes away from wrapping up the points until they made a needless foul giving Darmstadt a deep free kick in the last moment. In the 95th minute the deep cross finds Matej Maglica He supplies a headed pass across the frame onto the left side of the box Fillip Stojilkovic swings his leg in a dangerous position with good range at the left corner. However, it hits him on the shin in the final moment steering it off target. The final whistle goes as Selke’s 59th minute strike being the difference as Koln thrive in the cold to pick up only their second victory of the season. They escape the relegation zone for now.

A tightly contested affair regarding the bottom of the table kicks off the Bundesliga weekend. Everyone has been paying attention to the terrific title race that we have seen this season at the summit with Bayern Munich and Leverkusen paving the way for what is expected to be a lengthy title race. However, at the bottom things are getting just as tight. The points were incredibly valuable for both sides. We haven’t reached the halfway point of the season yet, but desperation will eventually seep in to those fighting for their lives. Selke brilliant strike off the corner gave Koln the points. This was only their second win of the season. Battling against another side that has the same objective. Speak volumes to the performance in an incredibly difficult environment. Not only because the fans in Darmstadt made their presents felt the entire game not only because of the cold on a freezing night but due to the circumstances of where both teams sat prior to kickoff. With this victory Koln has climbed out of the bottom three. They came into this one sitting at the bottom of the barrel. They have taken maximum points here and given themselves an opportunity to build on it and start picking up points a bit more regularly than they have. Ultimately, it was a very tough game between the two teams Koln probably deserved it more. The first half wasn’t necessarily. Very exciting as they were having difficult adjusting to the situation. A few opportunities that may be could have gone another way but it was a slow first half. In the second half we saw drama, intensity and physical play escalate. Not only the goal but Koln gets a second goal that was wiped off and the controversial penalty but ultimately wasn’t given to Darmstadt. While it wasn’t end to end in the way a lot of the Bundesliga tends to be, it had its drama in its own way. Koln played very well handled their moments accordingly and dealt with the difficult circumstances. In the end they deserved to win and they do have some individuals that can play a big role in them digging themselves out of their start. Koln will have another opportunity next weekend to build on this with a battle with another bottom table side in Mainz to see if this is a turning point of the season, it very well could be. It also could go the wrong way as well. For Darmstadt They will come away bitterly disappointed on how everything turned out. Despite the result they did play well and showed real courage trying to come back at the end. The last sequence on another night could have ended up with them grabbing something late. Before the only goal of the match They had their chances. It just didn’t fall for them. On this occasion. Their goalkeeper also stepped up in a big way and kept them alive late in the second half when they were pushing for something. Unfortunately with this result they will slide down into the Relegation zone as Koln slides out of it. They’ll have a chance to get this one back next weekend as well against Heidenheim another side that is not that far from the bottom. There will be some chance of redemption. They will have to go away from home to get a result there, but it is not a side. Thier unfamiliar with having played them multiple times last season as they were in Bundesliga 2 together. This was incredibly even matched and was likely just going to be a goal in it. On this occasion cologne find the moment but it truly could have gone either way. In what turned out to be a fascinating finish in Darmstadt