Anthony Modeste scored twice as Cologne leapfrogged Union Berlin into the sixth and final European place with a 4-1 victory over Augsburg at the WWK Arena.
Augsburg started brightly with Ruben Vargas slaloming his way past the Cologne defence before a shot which came to nothing. He later provided a fine cross for Michael Gregoritsch who headed into the hands of a grateful Marvin Schwäbe. It was against the run of play, then, when the Billy Goats took the lead, with Benno Schmitz crossing low into Jan Thielmann, who drilled his shot beyond Rafal Gikiewicz. Three minutes later the visitors doubled their advantage. This time Thielmann nodded down a Schmitz throw-in and Mark Uth volleyed home their second. Augsburg should have pulled one back when Andre Hahn crossed to Iago at the back post, but the Brazilian could only find the outside side-netting. Reece Oxford then got a foot on a Daniel Caligiuri free-kick into the Cologne box, but he couldn't turn it towards goal and it was 2-0 at the break.
Iago had been an injury doubt for this game, and he was stretchered off the field five minutes after the restart to be replaced by Felix Uduokhai. Augsburg kept their shape, but there was nothing they could do about Modeste just past the hour when the big Frenchman forced a penalty which he then converted for his 18th goal of the season. Modeste might have made it 19 soon after when he looked to have breached Augsburg's backline, but Jeffrey Gouweleeuw got a foot in in the nick of time. Augsburg then pulled one back when Florian Niederlechner capped off a fine attacking move, but Cologne and Modeste had the final say. The veteran fired into the top corner after being teed up by Uth.
- All three of Thielmann's goals for Cologne this season - and two of his three assists - have come in the Rückrunde.
- Uth has had a direct hand in six of the Billy Goats' last 11 goals (two of his own, as well as four provisions).
- At 34, Modeste is enjoying his second-best Bundesliga season with his 19 goals. He managed 25 in 2016/17 to finish third in the Torjägerkanone race.
- Cologne have now won on their last two trips to Augsburg having previously gone six games without victory in Swabian Bavaria.
- Disappointed today, Augsburg have still claimed almost twice as many points this season at home (22) as they have away (13).
- Niederlechner scored his fifth goal of the season, matching last season's tally in 10 fewer starts.
Watch: Jonas Hector on Cologne's top-six hopes
Augsburg: Gikiewicz - Gumny (Framberger 80'), Gouweleeuw (c), Oxford, Iago (Uduokhai 50') - Caligiuri (Finnbogason 80'), Gruezo (Maier 61'), Dorsch, Vargas - Hahn (Niederlechner 61'), Gregoritsch
Unused subs: Koubek, Moravek, Pepi, Günther
Out: Sarenren Bazee (knee), Pedersen (suspended), Strobl (knee)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Cologne: Schwäbe - Schmitz, Kilian (Chabot 84'), Hübers, Hector (c) - Ljubicic, Skhiri - Thielmann, Uth (Olesen 84'), Kainz (Schaub 71') - Modeste (Schindler 90'+1)
Unused subs: T. Horn, Arrey-Mbi, Ehizibue, J. Horn, Lemperle
Out: Andersson (not included), Özcan (suspended)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
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