Andrej Kramaric overtook Ivica Olic as the Bundesliga's record Croatian goalscorer as Hoffenheim made light work of relegation-threatened Cologne on Matchday 18.
Hoffenheim made the perfect start when Ihlas Bebou won a penalty for a shot that hit the arm of Sava-Arnagel Cestic. Kramaric duly delivered from 12 yards, hoodwinking Timo Horn with a cheeky panenka attempt for his 73rd Bundesliga goal, and 11th of the current campaign. The visitors were in complete control as Kramaric forced Horn into a finger-tip save with a wicked effort from the edge of the area, before Christoph Baumgartner added an audacious second goal. The Austrian redirected Mijat Gacinovic's volley following a corner into the back of the net, completely wrong-footing a dumbfounded Horn. Cologne coach Markus Gisdol responded with a double change, throwing on Jorge Mere and Jan Thielmann. The Billy Goats were all the better for it, with Marius Wolf denied at close-range by Oliver Baumann and striking a post from a corner, either side of a long-range Kramaric strike that sailed narrowly wide.
Kramaric was heavily involved after the restart, lifting a free-kick a yard or two over on the hour. Sebastian Rudy released the Croatian sharpshooter with Hoffenheim's next meaningful attack, but his touch past the advancing Horn was a shade on the heavy side and, under pressure from the back-tracking Jannes Horn, he could not keep the ball in play. Gisdol's final role of the dice, following the introduction of winger Ismail Jakobs and former Hoffenheim forward Anthony Modeste, was to replace captain Jonas Hector with midfielder Elvis Rexhbecaj. Cologne showed renewed purpose in the closing stages, only for Kramaric to all but end the game as a contest with his second successful penalty following Modeste's clumsy foul on Baumgartner. The away side had the opportunity to reduce the arrears when Stefan Posch was adjudged to have impeded Wolf in the box, but Modeste's spot-kick was saved by Baumann.
- After a run of three games without scoring, Kramaric has scored four in two games. He has converted 20 of his 22 penalty attempts, including all five this season.
- Including his two assists, Kramaric has been directly involved in 14 of Hoffenheim's 28 goals in the Bundesliga this term.
- Baumgartner scored his 10th Bundesliga goal - and third against Cologne.
- Having gone the first 15 games of the season without keeping a clean sheet, Hoffenheim have not conceded in three successive matches.
- Cologne have failed to win any of their last 10 meetings with Hoffenheim, losing each of the last six.
- Gisdol oversaw 96 competitive matches in charge of Hoffenheim between April 2013 and October 2015, keeping them in the Bundesliga via the relegation play-offs in 2012/13.
Watch: Andrej Kramaric - "I'm happy and proud"
Hoffenheim: Baumann (c) - Posch, Nordtveit, Adams - Rudy, Samassekou (Bogarde 88'), John - Gacinovic (Kaderabek 75'), Baumgartner - Bebou (Adamyan 75'), Kramaric (Dabbur 82')
Unused subs: Pentke, Brenet, Belfodil, Geschwill
Out: Akpoguma (hamstring), Bicakcic (knee), Geiger (hamstring), Grillitsch (abdominals), Hübner (ankle), Sessegnon (fitness), Skov (muscular), Stafylidis (shoulder), Vogt (shoulder)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß
Cologne: T. Horn - Cestic (Mere 30'), Bornauw, J. Horn - Ehizibue (Thielmann 30'), Skhiri, Hector (c) (Rexhbecaj 66'), Katterbach (Jakobs 61') - Wolf, Drexler - Duda (Modeste 61')
Unused subs: Zieler, Schmitz, Arokorade, Özcan
Out: Andersson (knee), Czichos (muscular), Kainz (knee)
Coach: Markus Gisdol
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