Goals: 0-1 Guirassy (23'), 1-1 Bailey (53'), 2-1 S. Bender (74')
The youngest Leverkusen line-up of the calendar year (average age: 23.9) began with youthful abandon, but Kevin Volland sent Die Werkself's best first-half chance - an eighth-minute volley – over the bar. Despite Bayer's dominance of possession, Cologne were always a threat in transition, and Sehrou Guirassy gave the visitors the lead midway through the first period, his touch and control bamboozling Jonathan Tah inside the six-yard box. Perhaps unfortunate to go behind, Heiko Herrlich's side remained on the front foot as half-time approached, but Dominique Heintz was in the right place to block Kai Havertz's goalbound effort prior to the interval.
It proved to be one of Havertz's final actions; the youngster was replaced by Lucas Alario at the break, with the Argentinian involved as Bayer almost immediately pulled level, the substitute's clever through-ball finding Bailey, who rounded Timo Horn and tapped in. The Jamaican almost gave his side the lead ten minutes later, but Horn stopped his low shot on this occasion, before Julian Brandt fired straight at the Cologne keeper in the 65th minute. The dominant hosts did complete the turnaround soon after, though, Bender's clever finish leaving Horn with no chance after the visitors failed to clear a corner. Bayer held firm in the closing stages to make it five games unbeaten; Cologne remain winless and bottom.