Five-star Cologne push Hertha Berlin closer to the drop
Defender Timo Hübers hit an unlikely brace as Cologne inflicted a damaging 5-2 defeat on bottom side Hertha Berlin.
Cologne 5-2 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Selke 8' (assist: Martel), 1-1 Tousart 18', 1-2 Jovetic 33' (assist: Lukebakio), 2-2 Hübers 39' (assist: Kainz), 3-2 Skhiri 43' (assist: Maina), 4-2 Hübers 69' (assist: Maina), 5-2 Huseinbasic 81'
With two goals last time out in an away win over Bayer Leverkusen that secured Cologne's top-flight status for another season, Davie Selke was at it again in the Matchday 32 opener. The former Germany U21 striker met Eric Martel's cross with a thunderous eighth-minute header, albeit hurting himself in the process and later being withdrawn. Hertha levelled before the change when Lucas Tousart fired in with the aid of a deflection from inside the area, before Oliver Christensen denied Kingsley Schindler at the other end. Stevan Jovetic finished a swift counter-attack as the Old Lady forged ahead, only to be floored by a quick one-two. Balls in from out wide were the visitors' undoing once again, as Hübers headed in a Florian Kainz free-kick and Ellyes Skhiri arrived unmarked to convert from Linton Maina.
Hübers and Kainz went close to extending Cologne's lead late in the first 45, with the half-time break providing only momentary respite for Hertha. Substitute Steffen Tigges went within a whisker of turning in Maina's seek-and-destroy pass, before Schindler flashed a cross-shot across goal. Christenen came up trumps to thwart Jan Thielmann at the end of a lung-busting run, with Hübers heading against the crossbar from the ensuing corner. Jessic Ngankam almost made an immediate impact, but Lady Luck was on Cologne's side as the Hertha substitute was denied by a combination of Marwin Schwäbe and the crossbar. Hübers rubbed salt into the wound by flicking in a Maina cross to give the hosts daylight. Not long after Tigges had hit the woodwork, Denis Huseinbasic's deflected finish compounded matters for Hertha, who stay five points adrift of outright safety with two games left to save their bacon.
- Cologne have scored at least three goals in all six of their home wins this season.
- Hübers had only scored once in 51 Bundesliga before this game.
- Kainz has contributed a team-leading 15 goals for Cologne this Bundesliga season.
- Selke – who netted 26 goals in 126 games for Hertha (2017-2022) – is Cologne's top scorer in the Rückrunde with five goals, including a brace in Leverkusen last time out.
- Hertha have conceded 66 goals this season at an average of more than two per game.
- The Old Lady have the worst away record in the Bundesliga, having picked up just five points from 16 games. Their only victory on the road this term came at Augsburg in early September.
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Cologne: Schwäbe - Schindler (Kilian 71'), Hübers, Chabot, Hector (c) - Skhiri, Martel (Thielmann 46') - Ljubicic, Maina (Lemperle 84'), Kainz (Huseinbasic 71') - Selke (Tigges 24')
Unused subs: Horn, Pedersen, Limnios, Olesen
Out: Dietz (cruciate ligament), Schmitz (suspended), Uth (pelvis)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
Hertha: Christensen - Kenny, Uremovic, Kempf, Plattenhardt (c) (Mittelstädt 61') - Tousart, Dardai (Serdar 61') - Lukebakio (Ejuke 80'), Niederlechner (Nkangam 61'), Richter - Jovetic
Unused subs: Ernst, Pekarik, Rogel, Boetius, Boateng
Out: Jarstein (not considered), Nsona (knee), Sunjic (not considered)
Coach: Pal Dardai
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