Watch: Xabi Alonso: "The defeat will be useful"
Full time! Leverkusen 1-2 Cologne
Cologne win away to neighbours Leverkusen for the second successive season. Davie Selke's first-half brace proves decisive as Bayer's 14-match unbeaten run is ended, and with it their outside hopes of a top-four finish.
Wirtz's cross is cleared only as far as Diaby, who leathers a frustrated strike into row M. It's just not been his or Bayer's day.
Timo Hübers goes down with that looks like a left shoulder problem, but should be OK to see out the remainder of the contest.
Time added on
Into the first of six added minutes at the BayArena. Right now, the 7,500 travelling fans are making all the noise...
End-to-end football in the Rhine derby as Tigges frees Schindler for a first-time shot that Hradecky is able to beat clear. The Cologne sub was all alone in the centre of the Bayer area, and will feel he should have done better.
Frimpong has found another gear. He beats Hector and crosses for Hlozek, whose downward header is blocked by Schmitz.
Frimpong does really well to dig out a pass to Wirtz, down by the Cologne corner flag. The cross comes in, but Azmoun doesn't have the reach to head it goalwards.
Adamyan and Huseinbaisc on
Fresh legs for Cologne. Can they see out a third straigth away win?
Azmoun's four Bundesliga goals this season have all fallen across his last eight appearances...
Three bookings, followed by an attacking change. Azmoun - a striker - replaces central defender Tah.
Maina and Adli come to blows, before players from both teams wade in. The referee has a decision to make here...
Attacking change in the offing
Sardar Azmoun is going through the motions on the touchline. Alonso's team need a spark from somewhere...
Olesen gets booked for a foul on Wirtz. Selke then sees yellow after taking too long to leave the pitch. Tigges is the replacement for Cologne's two-goal hero.
Diaby combines with Wirtz to create an opening in behind Schmitz. The Frenchman gets a shot off, but the angle's tight and an outstretched boot puts it behind. Nothing comes of the set piece.
Baumgart freshens up his right-hand side, which did so much damage in the first half. Kainz just took a knock, so it makes sense to see him make way. Thielmann, meanwhile, has been pretty subdued since the restart.
Andrich meets a Wirtz corner with his head. Schwäbe's equal to it, but the whistle sounds so it wouldn't have counted. Leverkusen seem to be playing with more urgency since those changes.
Alonso's seen enough. Hlozek, who was enjoying a run in the starting line-up before today, is one for Amiri. The returning Palacios replaced Bakker. Positive stuff.
Hector stings the palms of Hradecky from range, but the whistle sounds for a foul against Cologne as Kainz swings over the resultant corner. This is Hector's final curtain call, ahead of his retirement at the end of the current campaign.
Wirtz in the mood
Distance run (km)
Florian Wirtz Ellyes Skhiri
Fastest runner (km/h)
Florian Wirtz Linton Maina
Under way again!
Are Cologne about to end Leverkusen's 14-match unbeaten run? Stay with us to find out!
Half time! Leverkusen 1-2 Cologne
© Getty Images
Amiri's ensuing free-kick finds Adli, but his header lacks the power to seriously trouble Schwäbe in the Cologne goal. Not the biggest player in the team, the Leverkusen goalscorer...
Clear tactical foul from Thielmann, who pulls down Wirtz as the Bayer playmaker threatened to break into the Cologne final third.
Cologne now the favourites for the win
Selke at the double!
Cologne retake the lead in Leverkusen! Thielmann has the legs on Hincapie and the smarts to find Selke with his cross from the right. Selke steals in ahead of Tapsoba to steer a clinical first-time finish beyond Hradecky.
Cologne don't deal with a ball into the penalty area. Diaby gets two bites of the cherry on the rebound, but both efforts are blocked. Desperate defending from the visitors, there.
Leverkusen are level!
Electric stuff by Leverkusen. They win the ball deep in their own half and proceed to break at speed. It goes from right to left with Frimpong, Amiri, Bakker and Diaby. Adli tracks the play all the way, before arriving inside the box to sweep a first-time finish past Schwäbe. A textbook counter.
Leverkusen up the ante
Better passing from Leverkusen now. They shift the ball with patience and confidence, before turning the screw to send Diaby into the box. Schmitz stays with him, though, and blocks the Frenchman's cross behind for a corner that's cleared at the first attempt.
Happy days for Cologne!
Cologne work it well again as Thielmann cuts a pass back from the byline for Kainz. He's unmarked in the box, but is leaning back and blazes over.
That's Selke's third goal and Kainz's eighth assist of the season.
Out of the blue the visitors are in front! Kainz floats a looping cross into the right and Selke peels off Tah and guides a header into the net.
Bold approach from the home side as they play their way out from the back, with a few risky passes inside their own penalty area. Wirtz eventually finds Tapsoba in space and he almost picks out Amiri's run into the box, but the midfielder is flagged for offside.
Starting to boss it
Adli goes close
Wirtz curls a corner into the box. It ricochets around before almost falling for Adli at the back post. The Frenchman stretches out his left leg but can't quite make contact.
Amiri takes the free-kick but it heads Chabot on the head in the wall and sails out for a corner.
Free-kick to Leverkusen
It's right on the edge of the area as Hübers brings down Bakker, left of centre...
Cologne up for it
The visitors are hounding their guests high up the pitch so far, not giving them any time or space to think on the ball. As a result the match is a touch unsettled, with both teams losing possession pretty quickly at the moment.
Here we go!
Cologne get the ball rolling in the derby!
Watch: Cologne warming up
The Cologne factor
Cologne are in the relative comforts of mid table, seven points clear of the bottom three but with European qualification beyond them. The Billy Goats could yet play a role in what happens at both ends of the table, though, with tonight's contest preceding a home game against bottom side Hertha Berlin and leaders Bayern to come on the final day. They also go to Bremen on the penultimate weekend.
Rhine derby explained
This particular Rhine derby doesn't have the history of the rivalry between Cologne and Borussia Mönchengladbach simply because Leverkusen were only first promoted to the Bundesliga in 1979. However, suffocating geographical proximity between the two clubs and cities means there are all the ingredients for a fiercely passionate derby atmosphere when the pair meet. Leverkusen lead the series with 27 wins, 25 draws, 17 defeats.
Watch: Bayer custodians in the house...
Watch: Behind the scenes
More on those teams
Cologne have made one change following last week's defeat against Freiburg, with Jan Thielmann coming in for the suspended Eric Martel. Thielmann will begin in a more attacking role, with Dejan Ljubicic dropping back into central midfield. Meanwhile, Xabi Alonso makes two changes to his side: Adam Hlozek and Odilon Kossounou begin on the bench, with Amine Adli and Nadiem Amiri starting instead.
Watch: How Xabi Alonso has improved Leverkusen
Leverkusen starting XI
Hradecky (c) - Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie - Frimpong, Andrich, Amiri, Bakker - Diaby, Adli, Wirtz
Pentz, Kossounou, Sinkgraven, Fosu-Mensah, Demirbay, Palacios, Azmoun, Hlozek, Bellarabi
Cologne starting XI
Schwäbe - Schmitz, Hübers, Chabot, Hector (c) - Skhiri, Ljubicic - Thielmann, Maina, Kainz - Selke
Horn, Pedersen, Kilian, Huseinbasic, Schindler, Limnios, Olesen, Tigges, Adamyan
© IMAGO/UWE KRAFT/IMAGO/Uwe Kraft
© IMAGO/Ralf Treese, Ralf Treese/IMAGO/Treese
Watch: Cologne 0-1 Freiburg - highlights
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Watch: Cologne 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen - highlights
Friday night Rhine derby beckons!
Leverkusen v Cologne always serves up a tasty derby encounter. The clash was moved forward to Friday in order to give the hosts more time to prepare for the upcoming UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg v Roma. With the Werkself on a 14-match unbeaten run and eager to lock down a European qualification spot in the Bundesliga, expect fireworks!