Ellyes Skhiri scored twice as Cologne extended their unbeaten run to five consecutive Bundesliga games after coming from behind to defeat Greuther Fürth 3-1 in the opening fixture of Matchday 7 on Friday.
Buoyed by their strong start to the season, Cologne immediately sought to put their visitors under pressure and pounce on any hesitation from the league's bottom team. Fürth had other ideas, however, and after withstanding an early barrage they edged in front when Marco Meyerhöfer collected Timothy Tillman's expert through-ball to slot under Timo Horn. Undeterred, the home side continued to dominate possession as they squeezed forward in search of an equaliser, although they were largely limited to wayward long-range efforts from Mark Uth, Skhiri and Ondrej Duda. Sebastian Andersson also headed wide at the back post, but it was Fürth who went closest to adding to the scoreline again before the interval when Jeremy Dudziak hit the woodwork twice in quick succession, first beating Horn with a shot that fell kindly to him again off the upright, before hitting the same post from a tight angle on the rebound.
Cologne stuck to their game plan in the second half and soon got their reward. Florian Kainz's pass released Benno Schmitz into the right-hand side of the box and his cross was poked in at the back post by Andersson. Schmitz teased in another inviting delivery moments later that Uth was inches away from, before Duda saw an acrobatic effort whizz over. The Billy Goats were relentless as they sought to press their advantage and they soon took the lead when Jonas Hector flicked on a corner to the back post, where a combination of Rafael Czichos and Skhiri bundled the ball over the line from close range. Fürth coach Stefan Leitl soon made three changes in response in an effort to steer his side to a maiden win of 2021/22, but Cologne were not to be knocked off their stride and added a third late on, Skhiri grabbing his second of the game on the break to seal all three points.
- Meyerhöfer scored his first Bundesliga goal; it was also the first time Fürth have hit the net in the first half this season.
- Tillman made his first Bundesliga start this term and picked up his second assist in as many games.
- Andersson's goal was his first in the Bundesliga this season, while Skhiri netted his second and third.
- Skhiri's first goal was Cologne's first from a dead-ball situation since Matchday 28 of last season. Since then they had scored 18 times from open play.
- Cologne are unbeaten in five Bundesliga games, the longest run for Steffen Baumgart as a coach in the top flight.
- The Billy Goats are also unbeaten in their last five home games in the league, winning four of those.
Watch: Skhiri: “A really good feeling”
Cologne: T. Horn - Schmitz (Özcan 85'), Mere, Czichos, Hector (c) - Skhiri - Duda (Ljubicic 68'), Uth, Kainz (Schindler 78') - Modeste (Ehizibue 78'), Andersson (Schaub 85')
Unused subs: Schwäbe, Hübers, Kilian, Ostrak
Out: J. Horn (hip), Lemperle (ankle), Thielmann (illness)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
Fürth: Funk - Meyerhöfer, Bauer, Viergever, Willems - Seguin, Griesbeck (Christiansen 70'), Tillman (Leweling 63'), Dudziak - Nielsen (Abiama 76'), Hrgota (c) (Itten 63')
Unused subs: Burchert, Barry, Seufert, Sarpei, Green
Out: Jung (knee), Ngankam (knee)
Coach: Stefan Leitl