Cologne moved eight points clear of the relegation zone after Jhon Cordoba's 10th goal of the season helped the Billy Goats to a deserved 3-0 win over Schalke.
With their tails up after last weekend's 5-0 drubbing of Hertha Berlin, Cologne flew out of the traps as Florian Kainz flashed an early effort wide. Returning captain Jonas Hector had the ball in the net soon after, but the goal was chalked off for an offside decision against the effervescent Kainz, who was obscuring Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nübel's view. Cologne's next effort did stand, though, as Sebastiaan Bornauw glanced in Kainz's inch-perfect free-kick for 1-0. Matija Nastasic got a crucial block in on Cordoba's first effort of the match, before Ozan Kabak sent a header wide with Schalke's only noteworthy attempt of the half. Elvis Rexhbecaj tested Nübel, but the Schalke keeper could do nothing to deny Cordoba as Schalke were caught cold on the counter late in the half.
It might have been three at the break but for Nübel's heroics to once again foil Rexhbecaj. Cologne lacked the cut and thrust of the first half for large periods, though goalkeeper Timo Horn remained largely untested. A speculative effort from USA international Weston McKennie was as close as the Royal Blues came to getting on the scoresheet, but any hopes they had of mounting a comeback were dashed with 15 minutes of normal time remaining. Nübel appeared to have made a routine save from Kainz, but let the ball slip through his grasp and into the net. Cologne succeeded in keeping the Royal Blues at arm's length for the remainder, crossing the line with an eighth win in 12 league matches under Markus Gisdol to their name.
- Cordoba is enjoying his most prolific top-flight season to date with 10 goals.
- The Colombian has scored six of his goals in 2020. Only Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland has scored more since the turn of the year (nine).
- Bornaauw is Cologne's next-best scorer, and second highest scoring defender in the league after Eintracht Frankfurt's Martin Hinteregger.
- Cordoba and Kainz scored two a piece against Hertha a week ago.
- Schalke have not won since Matchday 18 (six matches).
- Schalke's Nassim Boujellab made his full Bundesliga debut.
Watch: Sebastiaan Bornauw reflects on "a great win for the fans"
Cologne: Horn – Ehizibue, Bornauw, Leistner, Schmitz – Skhiri, Hector (c) – Kainz (Thielmann 85'), Rexhbecaj, Jakobs (Drexler 76') – Cordoba (Modeste 78')
Unused subs: Krahl, Höger, Risse, Terodde, Schindler, Mere
Out: Czichos (neck), Katterbach (ankle), Kessler (calf), Uth (loan agreement)
Coach: Markus Gisdol
Schalke: Nübel – Kenny, Kabak (Todibo 29'), Nastasic, Oczipka (c) – McKennie, Boujellab (Kutucu 74'), Schöpf – Harit – Gregoritsch (Burgstaller 59'), Raman
Unused subs: Schubert, Matondo, Becker, Mercan
Out: Caligiuri (knee), Sane (knee), Stambouli (metatarsal), Mascarell (groin), Serdar (broken toe), Miranda (calf)
Coach: David Wagner