Date: 26th February 2011
Match: Köln - Freiburg 1-0 (Bundesliga)
Attendance: 45 500
My third and last match on this trip was to be a Bundesliga game. My choice was to be between Kaiserslautern (vs Hamburg) or Köln (vs Freiburg). After looking at train (as well as flight-) timetables I decided to stay two nights in Köln (and fly home from Frankfurt). Since I was staying in Köln the choice was not too difficult, Köln vs Freiburg. I spent the morning taking pictures of the very impressive Kölner Dom and walking around in the Altstadt/city centre. My hotel was only a minute´s walk from the Dom so I really stayed at a central hotel. After a short stop at a café I headed towards Neumarkt U-bahn station where I took a tram to RheinEnergieStadion. The stadium is situated in the Müngersdorfer area of Köln. The old stadium, on the same place as where RheinEnergieStadion now is, was called Müngersdorferstadion. This stadium had runnings tracks though but was completely rebuilt between 2002-2004. RheinEnergieStadion has four separate stands and a capacity of around 50 000. All four stands are quite steep and I have to say this is a cracking ground.
A match against Freiburg is far from being a "big game" but still 45 000 Köln fans (and 500 Freiburg fans) turned up and they created a good atmosphere through-out the 90 minutes. The first half was dominated by FC Köln. Novakovic had the best chance but he missed the open goal and hit the post. 0-0 at half-time and still no goals on German soil during this trip. When both teams failed to score from various chances I was fearing another goalless game. In the 89th minute Podolski raced through on the left hand side and managed to chip the keeper from outside the penalty area. It was a suberb goal of highest class. The stadium erupted into wild celebrations and people around me went nuts. I celebrated too, finally a goal on German soil after 179 minutes of missed opportunities. Freiburg actually went very close to equalising in stoppage time but Köln could hold on to a fourth straight home win. It had started to rain quite heavily but I (and everyone else) didn´t care too much after the climax we´d experienced. The journey back to the Dom and my hotel went very smoothly as I managed to board one of the first trams going back. My trip was coming to an end but Podolski´s goal was alone worth the entrance fee and a great way to end this trip.
Fans outside the ground
View of play