Arsenal v Cologne: Billy Goats, Tony Woodcock, 1970-71, Mungersdorf, Monchengladbach, Granit Xhaka and hooligans in boiler suits – how much do you know about Europa League rivals FC Koln?
PUBLISHED: 18:55 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 18:12 15 September 2017
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Arsenal face Cologne on Thursday night – but how much do you know about the Gunners Europa League Group H rivals?
It is said that Cologne will take 20,000 fans to London for the clash as the club is looking forward to its first continental campaign since taking part in the 1992-93 UEFA Cup, and their supporters are known to be some of the most exuberant in the Bundesliga.
But with an official allocation of only 2,900 tickets and Arsenal not selling tickets to new members who have joined since the draw, to paraphrase Christine Keeler, ‘they would say that wouldn’t they?’.
The Billy Goats, as they are nicknamed, have faced Arsenal before in European competition, playing Bertie Mee’s Arsenal in the semi-finals of the European Fairs Cup during the club’s first double season in 1970/71.
With the club competing the two fronts they beat the Germans 2-1 in front of a Highbury crowd of 40,007 on March 9 1971 before being knocked out of the competition on away goals after losing 1-0 in Cologne two weeks later.
Despite the defeat the Gunners showed great character and no little stamina after the game in Germany - played in front of an estimated 50,000 fans - as it was four days before the famous 2-2 draw with Stoke City in the FA Cup semi-final, as Arsenal came back from two goals down to break Stoke hearts before winning the replay 2-0.
Links between the clubs include mid-eighties Arsenal forward Tony Woodcock playing for the Germans between 1979 and 1982 before signing for Terry Neil’s Arsenal.
After playing 131 league games and scoring 56 goals the nippy striker nicknamed ‘Woody’ returned to Cologne for a second spell in 1986 before he joined city rivals Fortuna Cologne.
Arsenal also played at the old Mungersdorf ground in 1996 – long before it was refurbished for the 2006 World Cup in Germany – when they faced the Billy Goats’ near neighbours Borussia Monchengladbach. The Gunners eventually lost 3-2 after being 2-1 up at half-time, before the unheralded – at the time – Arsene Wenger told the team to change from a 3-5-2 system to 4-4-2 during the break, eventually losing the tie 6-4 on aggregate.
The twice Bundesliga champions and 1986 UEFA Cup runners-up finished a creditable fifth last term in Germany but arrive in London on the back of three league defeats, 1-0 away to Gladbach, a 3-1 home defeat by Hamburg and a 3-0 loss to Augsburg.
Granit Xhaka scored a last minute winner for Gladbach at home to Cologne in February 2015 in a match marred by crowd trouble when travelling Cologne fans in white boiler suits invaded the pitch – before being chased off by police and attacked by home fans.
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