Cologne came from two goals down to beat Mainz 3-2 in a five-goal thriller at the RheinEnergie Stadion and boost their hopes of European football next season.
Both sides were looking to bounce back from defeats, with Cologne beaten at Union Berlin last weekend and Mainz going down in Augsburg in midweek, and it was the guests who made the better start, going in front after less than a quarter of an hour. Jonathan Burkardt's angled shot took a deflection off Luca Kilian to leave Marvin Schwäbe wrong-footed. Schwäbe redeemed himself with a fine save from a rasping Jean-Paul Boetius shot soon after to keep Cologne in the game, before Anthony Modeste missed the Billy Goats' first big chance of the game in the 40th minute, flicking a header just wide of the far post.
It took Mainz even less time to find the back of the net in the second half than it did in the first, Karim Onisiwo latching onto Dominik Kohr's pass and, since he had nobody up in support, he decided to go it alone, placing his shot across Schwäbe into the far corner. Ellyes Skhiri reduced the arrears within five minutes, helping Modeste's header from a corner find a way into the far corner, and as the home fans found their voice, Cologne upped the pressure. Steffen Baumgart made a triple substitution to inject even more energy into his team, and it had the desired effect as Dejan Ljubicic rifled in an unstoppable shot to bring them level. More was still to come. Robin Zentner made a fine save down low to his right to deny Salih Özcan's header, but Kilian was on hand to tuck the ball in and complete the turnaround and earn Cologne the points, much to the delight of the sell-out home crowd.
- Skhiri's goal was his fourth of the season, but only his first since Matchday 7.
- Cologne have only lost two of 15 home matches with Mainz in the Bundesliga (W8, D5).
- They scored as many goals in this game as in their previous five home games combined.
- Burkardt scored his first goal on the road since Matchday 10.
- Cologne's 43 points is a new club record after 29 games of a season.
- Only rock-bottom Greuther Fürth have collected fewer points on the road this season (two) than Mainz (eight).
Watch: Skhiri hails Cologne's "mentality" after victory
Cologne: Schwäbe - Ehizibue, Kilian, Chabot, J. Horn (Ljubicic 58') - Skhiri, Hector (c) – Uth (Lemperle 85'), Duda (Özcan 58'), Kainz (Schaub 58') - Modeste
Unused subs: T. Horn, Arrey Mbi, Obuz, Ostrak, Olesen
Out: Andersson (not included), Hübers (suspended), Özcan (not included), Schindler (personal reasons), Schmitz (thigh), Thielmann (suspended)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart
Mainz: Zentner - Bell, Hack (Nemeth 46'), Niakhate (c) - Widmer (Brosinski 86'), Stach, Kohr (Stöger 86'), Martin – Boetius (Lee 83') - Burkardt (Ingvartsen 86'), Onisiwo
Unused subs: Dahmen, Barreiro, Lucoqui, Nebel
Out: Burgzorg (heart), St. Juste (shoulder)
Coach: Bo Svensson
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