Anthony Modeste's 12th Bundesliga goal of the season set Cologne on the way to victory at Hertha Berlin and up to sixth in the standings.
Cologne went within a whisker of taking an early lead when Ondrej Duda headed Louis Schaub's pass narrowly wide of the upright. Mark Uth flashed an effort off target from 16 yards, before Hertha spurned a glorious opening to forge ahead. Myziane Maolida went one-one-one with Marvin Schwäbe who, preferred over fit-again No.1 Timo Horn, made the block. It proved a key moment in the contest as Modeste headed in from Uth's superb cross with Cologne's next atttack. Duda added a quick-fire second, the former Hertha midfielder smashing in Niklas Stark's attempted clearance from just inside the area. Only Alexander Schwolow's sizeable frame denied Modeste a third.
Hertha had been second best in all areas, but were much improved after the restart. Peter Pekarik signalled the Old Lady's intentions with a fierce effort Schwäbe did well to fend behind, before Vladimir Darida sent over a free-kick that evaded everyone, including the Cologne goalkeeper, to halve the deficit. Schwolow kept the scoreline to 2-1 with a fine reaction save from Stark's overhit back-pass. The resultant indirect free-kick was played to Uth, whose stinging close-range effort was met once more by the Hertha custodian's firm left hand. The introduction of Kevin Prince-Boateng made for a lively finale, but a mistake by Darida spelled the end for Hertha as substitute Jan Thielmann raced clear and finished with aplomb to give Cologne an unassailable lead.
- Modeste has scored 56 goals in 121 Bundesliga games for Cologne, including 12 strikes this season. It took Billy Goats legend Lukas Podolski 139 games to reach the same tally.
- Cologne have scored a league-high 13 goals from crosses this season, including 12 headers - 10 from Modeste.
- The Billy Goats' 10 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches is another best-mark among Bundesliga clubs this term.
- Duda put away his second Bundesliga goal of the campaign. He scored 12 times in 59 Bundesliga appearances for Hertha between 2016 and 2019.
- Darida was on target for the first time since the final day of last season.
- Hertha lost at home for the first time under Tayfun Korkut, having won their previous two.
Watch: Ondrej Duda on Anthony Modeste's aerial prowess
Hertha: Schwolow – Pekarik (Klünter 81'), Stark (c), Torunarigha, Mittelstädt – Richter, Darida, Ascacibar (Tousart 81'), Serdar– Selke (Ekkelenkamp 69'), Maolida (Boateng 69')
Unused subs: Christensen, Plattenhardt, Dardai, Gechter, Jastrzembski
Out: Belfodil (not included), Boyata (fitness), Bjorkan (not included), Jarstein (knee), Jovetic (calf), Zeefuik (fitness)
Coach: Tayfun Korkut
Cologne: Schwäbe – Schmitz, Kilian, Hübers, Hector (c) – Özcan – Schaub (Ljubicic 66'), Duda (Ostrak 85'), Kainz (Thielmann 66') – Modeste, Uth (J. Horn 78')
Unused subs: T. Horn, Ehizibue, Lemperle, Obuz, Olesen
Out: Andersson (match fitness), Köbbing (knee), Mere (illness), Skhiri (Africa Cup of Nations), Strauch (illness)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart