BERLIN (AP) — Supported only by stuffed toys left by loyal fans and team jerseys draped over empty seats, Cologne’s struggle to play without real supporters continued against Leipzig in a 4-2 loss at home on Monday.
It was the first Bundesliga match played in June for 25 years, delayed from its original scheduled date in mid-April due to the league’s coronavirus-induced break.
The suspension came at the wrong time for Cologne, which has claimed just two points from the five games it has played without supporters. Fans are banned from Bundesliga stadiums for the rest of the season to reduce the risk of another virus outbreak.
Leipzig on the other hand has thrived in the absence of away supporters, wracking up nine goals in two away games since the league resumed on May 16.
Jhon Cordoba got Cologne off to a good start in the seventh minute but had to go off with a clearly painful knee injury in the 24th, four minutes after Patrik Schick drew the visitors level.
Goals from Christopher Nkunku and Timo Werner put Leipzig 3-1 up before Anthony Modeste pulled one back with a fine strike in the 55th.
However, Dani Olmo sealed Leipzig’s win two minutes later with his first goal for the club since his winter transfer from Dinamo Zagreb.
Leipzig reclaimed third place with five games of the season to go.
Cologne stayed 11th, seven points above the relegation zone.
Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP