Marius Wolf scored twice as Cologne gave their survival hopes a shot in the arm with a 3-1 victory - their first on home soil in almost a year - over promoted side Arminia Bielefeld.
Cologne head coach Markus Gisdol's decision to to make five changes to the side that lost 3-0 to Hoffenheim last time out was vindicated just 10 minutes in. Bielefeld goalkeeper Stefan Ortega pulled off a flying save to keep out Ellyes Skhiri's header from a corner, but was powerless to prevent Wolf sinking his teeth into the follow-up. Despite not scoring for Cologne in his previous 17 appearances, Wolf doubled his tally around the half-hour mark with an emphatic near-post finish, following Ismail Jakobs' driving run and strong hold-up play from new signing Emmanuel Dennis. Bielefeld weren't without chances, with Fabian Klos heading at Timo Horn and Reinhold Yabo snatching an effort wide either side of Cologne's second goal.
Bielefeld were celebrating soon after the restart, but Ritsu Doan's strike was ruled out for an offside decision against Klos in the build-up. Elvis Rexhbecaj added salt to the wound when he raced on to Skhiri's superb through-ball - expertly dummied by Dennis - and thrashed under Ortega for 3-0. The visitors refused to throw in the towel, though, and pulled one back with 18 minutes of normal time remaining. A miscommunication in the Cologne defence allowed Klos to find substitute Sergio Cordova, who had the simple task of firing into the unguarded net. Cebio Souko struck the woodwork late on, but Bielefeld could not prevent Cologne from ending their unwanted club record 14-game winless home run. The result lifts the Billy Goats out of the relegation play-off spot - at Arminia's expense.
- Cologne had not won in the league at their RheinEnergieStadion since beating Schalke 3-0 on 29 February 2020.
- Wolf scored the first brace of his Bundesliga career.
- Dennis is the fourth Nigerian to play for Cologne in the Bundesliga, after Tolu Arokodare, Manasseh Ishiaku and Anthony Ujah.
- Skhiri is Cologne's top scorer in the Bundesliga this season with three. Wolf is one of six players with two league goals.
- Cordova has scored seven of his nine Bundesliga goals as substitute, and has found the net in back-to-back games for the first time.
- This was the teams' 26th top-flight meeting, of which none have previously ended goalless. There have neem 12 wins apiece, and two draws.
Watch: Wolf: "Maybe I deserved it"
Cologne: T. Horn (c) - Mere, Czichos, Katterbach - Wolf, Skhiri, Rexhbecaj (Meyer 90'), J. Horn - Duda (Drexler 69'), Dennis (Thielmann 82'), Jakobs (Özcan 82')
Unused subs: Zieler, Schmitz, Hector, Limnios, Modeste
Out: Andersson (knee), Cestic (muscular), Kainz (knee)
Coach: Markus Gisdol
Bielefeld: Ortega - Brunner, Pieper (van der Hoorn 89'), Nilsson, Laursen - Kunze - Doan, Hartel (Seufert 86'), Yabo (Soukou 62') - Klos (c), Schipplock (Cordova 62')
Unused subs: Linner, de Medina, Lucoqui, Gebauer, Prietl
Out: Edmundsson (not included), Niemann (calf)
Coach: Uwe Neuhaus
Watch: Dennis: "I'm happy for the team"