FULL TIME! BIG WIN FOR COLOGNE
It's all over and Cologne have another win and second clean sheet in succession. They thoroughly deserve it too, ruthlessly finishing their chances and looking solid at the back. They're now eight points clear of the relegation zone.
OFF WE GO AGAIN
Cologne get the ball rolling once more.
BORNAUW MOPPING UP
Schalke, to their credit, are still trying to find a way back, but crosses, passes and shots all seem to be intercepted and blocked by Bornauw, who's been absolutely brilliant today.
That is the first own goal in Cologne's favour this season, and the 50th they have 'scored' in Bundesliga history.
TWO CHANGES FOR COLOGNE
Home coach Markus Gisdol reacts to that third goal by making two substitutions in quick succession. They're like-for-like substitutions, with Drexler coming on in attacking midfield for Jakobs and Modeste - who is likely to replace the suspended Cordoba next week - going up front.
THREE FOR COLOGNE!
This is one that Schalke goalkeeper Nübel will want to forget very quickly. Kainz receives the ball wide on the right and dribbles past three defenders before shooting from an acute angle. There doesn't appear to be much danger as Nübel catches it at the front post... but somehow the ball squirms through his arms and legs and rolls over the line!
OWN GOAL!3 : 0
ATTACKING CHANGE FOR SCHALKE
The visitors are throwing caution to the wind now as they take off a midfielder in Boujellab and replace him with a striker in Kutucu.
The USA international makes the most of the tiny pocket of space he has and snatches a shot at goal. It flies wide of the target, but it's the first time in a long while that Schalke have mustered an effort on goal.
FINAL PASS MISSING FROM COLOGNE
The Billy Goats have broken forward on the counter a couple of times in the last few minutes and got to the edge of the Schalke penalty area, but the last pass hasn't quite been good enough. You get the sense a third Cologne goal would finish this game off for good.
STILL NO WAY THROUGH
Schalke are starting to up the pressure now but they up against what is a back five when Cologne are out of possession. The home team are closing down the spaces really well and haven't looked like conceding today.
FRESH IMPETUS FOR SCHALKE
The visitors need to change something if they're to find a way back and head coach Wagner has opted to bring on Burgstaller up front, replacing Gregoritsch.
A BIT SCRAPPY
Schalke are trying their best to gain a foothold in the match, but Cologne are not budging an inch. Possession is switching sides quickly right now, with little happening in the final thirds.
SUPERB FROM CORDOBA
Schalke go on the attack and have a decent spell of pressure. Cologne struggle to get breathing room for a few moments but when a long ball is punted upfield, Cordoba does brilliantly to shield it from Todibo, holding up the play until his teammates join him. He eventually wins a free-kick and Cologne can regroup.
FIRST CORNER FOR SCHALKE
Leistner slides in to prevent McKennie from crossing and it's Schalke's first corner of the game. The delivery is poor though, and Cologne clear easily.
HALF-TIME - COLOGNE DESERVEDLY AHEAD
The Bily Goats have been the better team and look far more confident and determined when getting forward. They've taken their goals well and could even have had a couple more, while limiting Schalke to one or two half-chances at best.
NÜBEL DENIES REXHBECAJ
The Cologne midfielder makes a brilliant late run into the box, but his shot from an angle is punched away well by Nübel.
THREE ADDED MINUTES
We're into stoppage time now. Will there be a late twist before the break?
CORDOBA BETTER THAN EVER
With his 10th of the season, Cordoba now has as many goals in 2019/20 as he managed in his first three campaigns combined.
CORDOBA DOUBLES THE LEAD!
The Colombian forward goes from villain to hero within the space of seconds as he finishes off a brilliant counter-attack with his 10th goal of the season. It's a long way back for Schalke now.
GOAL!2 : 0
CORDOBA TO MISS NEXT MATCH
The Cologne striker has his name taken by referee Manuel Gräfe for protesting a decision. It's his fifth booking of the campaign and he'll be suspended next week.
HORN A SPECTATOR
The Cologne goalkeeper is yet to make a save in this game and has had a quiet day at the office so far.
PROMISING FROM HARIT
The Schalke winger dribbles past two defenders on the left and cuts the ball back to Oczipka. If he can find McKennie on the edge of the area he'll have a clear shot at goal... but a Cologne defender just gets in the way and snuffs out the danger.
THREE ON TWO FOR COLOGNE!
Schalke lose the ball in midfield and suddenly Cologne are on the attack with Cordoba driving forward, Kainz to his right and Rexhbecaj to his left. He plays it to the right and Kainz spies Rexhbecaj charging in at the back post, but Cordoba gets in the youngster's way a bit and his header isn't as clean as it could be, allowing Nübel to save.
COLOGNE ON TOP
The hosts are pressing very high up the pitch and harrassing the Schalke players quickly and in numbers whenever they get the ball. The visitors don't seem to have an answer to it at present, and are losing possession almost as soon as they get it. Top stuff from the home side.
TODIBO COMES ON
There's the change, with on-loan Barcelona defender Jean-Claire Todibo coming on as a like-for-like Kabak replacement in central defence.
SCHALKE WITH 10 MEN
Kabak looks like he'll need to be substituted off after appearing to hurt his back following an aerial challenge with Cordoba, during which he fell awkwardly.
Bornauw's goal was the 11th header Cologne have scored this season - more than any other team. Bornauw himself has found the target with three headers.
The Cologne centre-back now has five Bundesliga goals this season, making him the team's second-highest scorer after Cordoba, who has nine. He's also the second-highest scoring defender in the league, with only Frankfurt's Hinteregger ahead of him with six.
FIRST OPENING FOR SCHALKE
Harit slings a cross from left to right to the back post, where three Schalke players are waiting for it. Kabak is first to it, but can't direct his header on target and Horn isn't called on to make a save.
SKHIRI HAS A POP
The Cologne midfielder receives the ball from a throw-in and is completely unmarked in the middle of the pitch. He strides forward and lines up a shot from 30 yards, but it's always rising and sails over the bar.
BRILLIANT BREAK FROM COLOGNE
Another Schalke move breaks down and Cologne immediately get forward. Cordoba plays the ball out to Kainz on the right, who slides it forward to Rexhbecaj. He tries to pull it back to the unmarked Cordoba in the box, but the ball bounces of Nastasic's heel and is cleared. It was very nicely worked from the hosts until then, though.
WHAT NOW FOR SCHALKE?
That goal will have shaken the Royal Blues' already fragile confidence. They've struggled for goals this year and have only scored once in February. Cologne have kept them at arm's length so far, too.
THIS ONE COUNTS!
Kainz with a beautiful free-kick from wide on the left that Bornauw glances inside the far post. A great goal, and very much deserved so far.
GOAL!1 : 0
HECTOR SCORES...OR DOES HE?
Hector thinks he's given the hosts the lead with a lovely, curling shot with his weaker right foot from the edge of the area. However, the referee's assistant instantly raises his flag and rules it out, as Kainz had strayed into an offside position and was blocking the goalkeeper's view.
SCHMITZ BANDAGED UP
The Cologne defender is back on the pitch after going off for treatment for a few minutes. His head is covered in a white bandage after an aerial clash with a teammate a few moments ago.
KAINZ FIRES WIDE
Kainz, who hit a brace in the 5-0 thrashing of Hertha last week, lines up a free-kick about 30 yards from goal, slightly to the left of centre. He strikes it well but the ball takes a slight deflection off the wall and it bobbles out for a corner.
HERE WE GO!
Schalke get the match under way!
COLOGNE TEAM NEWS
Fit-again Jonas Hector returns to the Cologne midfield here, with Sebastiaan Bornauw back in central defence following injury. On-loan striker Mark Uth is not allowed to play against his parent club, so Jhon Cordoba leads the line for this one.
SCHALKE TEAM NEWS
Midfielder Omar Mascarell misses out for the first time this season, having played in all 26 competitive games so far. He is suffering with a groin strain, while Suat Serdar is also sidelined with a broken toe, meaning Nassim Boujellab starts for the first time in 2019/20. Michael Gregoritsch returns to the starting XI having been on the bench last week, joining Benito Raman up front.
COLOGNE STARTING XI:
Horn – Ehizibue, Bornauw, Leistner, Schmitz – Skhiri, Hector (c) – Kainz, Rexhbecaj, Jakobs – Cordoba
Krahl, Höger, Risse, Terodde, Schindler, Mere, Drexler, Modeste, Thielmann
SCHALKE STARTING XI:
Nübel – Kenny, Kabak, Nastasic, Oczipka – McKennie, Boujellabb, Schöpf – Harit – Gregoritsch, Raman
Schubert, Matondo, Kutucu, Burgstaller, Todibo, Becker, Mercan
GISDOL WARY OF SCHALKE
Cologne head coach Markus Gisdol is taking nothing for granted, despite the visitors’ recent run: “I don’t want to be deceived by Schalke’s recent results. They haven’t been as bad as the results suggest. Some of the time it’s just been a question of luck. They’re very good in transition and have got a lot of pace. They’re a club with European ambitions, but we have a few ideas how we can hurt them.”
WAGNER: “WE WANT THE THREE POINTS"
Schalke may have been off colour recently, but head coach David Wagner is still aiming for a win today. “You can see that Cologne have got a good team out on the pitch,” he said at his pre-match media briefing. “That’s why they’re picking up good results at the moment. But that doesn’t change the fact that we’re going there to take all three points.”
FIVE STRAIGHT DRAWS?
The last four Bundesliga meetings between these two have all ended in draws: 1-1, 2-2, 2-2 and 1-1 again. And you may be surprised to learn that Cologne have the upper hand overall in this fixture, winning 36 of the 85 Bundesliga encounters to date. There have been 22 draws, whie Schalke have triumphed 27 times.
Cologne's form stands in stark contrast to that of Schalke, who are without a victory in their last five Bundesliga games, and have only won once in 2020 - back on Matchday 18. They come into this game on the back of a 5-0 loss to RB Leipzig last week, while the Royal Blues have only scored once since 17 January (in the 1-1 draw with Paderborn on Matchday 21).
The Billy Goats have been in good form in 2020, winning three and losing two of their five Bundesliga fixtures so far. The two defeats have come against Dortmund and Bayern, while they have recorded impressive wins over Bremen (1-0), Freiburg (4-0) and most recently a 5-0 thumping away to Hertha Berlin last week. That will have given them confidence they can pick up a good result here too.
HELLO AND WELCOME!
We round off the Saturday action with two teams with contrasting objectives: Cologne are eager to keep pulling away from the relegation zone, while Schalke are out to cement their place in the top six. It should be a cracker, so stay with us for all the build-up and live coverage!
Welcome along to the match centre for the game Köln vs. Schalke from matchday 24 of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season at the RheinEnergieSTADION. Check back here for full information on the match.