First Team 17/07/2018

Pre-Season: Watford 1-1 FC Köln

Watford’s pre-season campaign began with a 1-1 draw against two-time German champions FC Köln in Kitzbuhel. 

Andre Gray gave Watford an early lead after some great work from Richarlison, who put it on a plate for the forward at the far post, only for 'the Billy Goats' to hit back just after the break through Jhon Cordoba.

The Golden Boys played two entirely different sides in each half, with Head Coach Javi Gracia trying to give most of his squad some minutes in the first friendly of pre-season.

It was Watford who had the first chance of the evening. Lovely one-touch link-up play between Gray and Richarlison set the Brazilian through, only for goalkeeper Timo Horn to be equal to his low drive.

The Hornets were on top for most of the opening period and it was their controlled possession that resulted in the first goal. Will Hughes stole possession in midfield and wonderfully slipped in Richarlison, who unselfishly fed Gray, and the front-man slotted in at the far post.  

Watford continued to control most of possession throughout the first half, with Köln’s first chance coming 10 minutes before half-time when captain Marcel Risse’s shot was deflected over the bar by Christian Kabasele.

Gray almost doubled both his and Watford’s advantage five minutes before the break when Hughes again stole possession in midfield; the ball made its way out wide only for Daryl Janmaat’s cross to be turned behind by Sobiech, with Gray lurking dangerously.

The German side were almost level within five minutes of the restart. Köln skipper Risse found some space on the right and his fierce drive was stopped smartly by substitute keeper Heurelho Gomes. 

And three minutes later they were level when Salih Oczan’s low cross from the left-hand side was turned into an open net by forward Cordoba. 

The Golden Boys were almost back in front just after the hour mark, but no-one could get on the end of Kiko Femenia’s driven cross after good work from Isaac Success.

Both sides had chances to claim the win in the closing stages.

Firstly, Köln went close after Simon Terodde was sent racing through one-on-one but his chipped effort was inches away from Gomes’ net. This was followed by a beautiful curled effort from Dodi Lukebakio that went narrowly wide from the edge of the box shortly before the referee’s final whistle. 

The Golden Boys’ pre-season campaign continues this Saturday (July 21) when they face another German outfit in the shape of Fortuna Dusseldorf. Make sure to keep up-to-date with all the latest from the camp in Austria on watfordfc.com.

HORNETS XI (first half) | Foster (GK); Janmaat, Cathcart, Kabasele, Masina; Capoue (C); Sema, Hughes, Pereyra, Richarlison; Gray.

HORNETS XI (second half) | Gomes (GK); Femenia, Mariappa, Britos, Holebas; Wilmot, Hoban; Lukebakio, Sinclair, Success; Deeney (C).

First Team 17/07/2018

Opposition Profile: 1.FC Köln

By Danny Varsalona

With Watford set to play their first pre-season friendly tonight against 1.FC Köln in Austria, watfordfc.com takes a closer look at some unfamiliar opponents for the Golden Boys.


FACTFILE

Stadium: RheinEnergieStadion (Müngersdorfer Stadion)

Nickname: Die Geißböcke (the Billy Goats) 

Favoured formation: 3-4-3, 4-1-2-1-2

The RheinEnergieStadion has a capacity of just under 50,000

HONOURS

Two-time Bundesliga winners (1963/64 &1977/78) and five-time runners-up

Five-time German Cup winners

Europa League/UEFA Cup runners-up (1985/86)

Ipswich Town's Terry Butcher and Köln's Tony Woodcock battle for the ball, UEFA Cup semi-final, April 1981

LAST TIME OUT

2017/18 was not the best of seasons for FC Köln as they suffered relegation from the Bundesliga.

The side struggled to build on performances from the previous year which saw them qualify for the Europa League - a European campaign that would ultimately come to an end against Arsenal but showed that the Billy Goats were better than their league position.

The two-time Bundesliga winners will be in the second division in the coming season but will be buoyed by the fact they’ve won it three times before, most recently in 2014.

Peter Stoger (pictured) was in charge for three-and-a-half years but was replaced by Markus Anfang in March

THE COACH 

Markus Anfang 

New coach Anfang was appointed earlier this year following Köln’s relegation from the Bundesliga. The Cologne-born coach joins the club from Holstein Kiel after an impressive season with the 2. Bundesliga side.

Anfang led Kiel to a third-place finish but missed out on promotion via a play-off against Wolfsburg. He played professionally for Schalke and Fortuna Dusseldorf - with the Hornets taking on the latter on Saturday. 

KEY PLAYERS

Timo Horn

Timo Horn is Köln through and through. The 6'3" goalkeeper has been with his boyhood club since 2011 and made 34 appearances last season for Die Geißböcke.

The 25-year-old turned down numerous offers to remain with Köln – something 2. Bundesliga strikers won’t be relishing.

Timo Horn is a former German youth international, and represented his country at the 2016 Olympics

Jonas Hector

Another man who refused to be prized away from Köln is German international and vice-captain Jonas Hector. The left-back, who can also play as a holding midfielder, was arguably the side’s best player last season.

The 28-year-old chipped in with a couple of goals and made two appearances for Germany at the World Cup in Russia.

Jonas Hector was part of the last Köln side to be promoted from the second division

Marcel Risse

If you’re looking for someone to make a team tick, Risse is your man. The 28-year-old grabbed three assists last season, and with the likes of Leandro Bittencourt and Milos Jojic leaving the club, Risse will be top of the list for creating chances.

The versatile midfielder, who was used mainly at right-back last season, is more than just a creator - he’s not afraid to have a go from range and is even deadlier over a set-piece.

Marcel Risse's former clubs include Bayer Leverkusen and Mainz

Simon Terodde

Signed in January from VfB Stuttgart, Terrode bagged his side five goals in 14 appearances in the Bundesliga. The 30-year-old is a handful for any defender, using his 6'3" frame to good effect in the box.

Good in the air and more than comfortable finishing on the floor too, the striker instantly endeared himself to Köln fans after he scored a dramatic late winner against fierce rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach less than a month after he signed.