Jonas Hector scored both goals as Cologne stunned RB Leipzig to keep their hopes of survival alive with four games to play. - © Xinhua via images/Xinhua
Jonas Hector scored both goals as Cologne stunned RB Leipzig to keep their hopes of survival alive with four games to play. - © Xinhua via images/Xinhua

Jonas Hector: MD30's Man of the Matchday and Cologne's captain fantastic against RB Leipzig

Desperate times call for desperate measures, yet Cologne's calculated risk against RB Leipzig paid dividends as captain Jonas Hector kept their survival hopes alive, in an unorthodox manner.

Hector has forged a reputation as one of Germany's most accomplished full-backs, although a shift across into the heart of the defence midway through last season has seen his defensive qualities flourish.

There is more to the 30-year-old than purely defending, though, and new Cologne coach Friedhelm Funkel has not taken long to see how Hector can play an even greater role in his side's bid to beat the drop. Already moved into the centre of the midfield for kick-off against Leipzig, Funkel thought he could eek even more out of his captain by moving him even further up the field at the start of the second 45 minutes. Within a minute, Hector was celebrating his second goal of the season.

"We've had problems up front all season with injuries, and we really needed to have somebody up there, which is pretty much what Hector did today," said Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn. "Jonas was exceptional and let's not forget how many aerial duels he won against [Dayot] Upamecano - that's not something you can take for granted."

Hector, who used to play up front at youth level before switching to defence, does not plan on making the forward move a permanent one, although he was more than happy to score twice his tally for the season in the space of 45 minutes.

"I don't really care who gets the goals," he said. "It just had to be me today, maybe to make up for the one or two I've squandered lately - so it does me good to score.

"But it was a team performance and that is what we must be focusing on. Everybody out there on the field did everything for this win. You could see that and it's absolutely crucial that we show it in the coming weeks too.

Watch: Cologne's big win over Leipzig

"It was nice to have something to celebrate today. That does us good for the weeks to come."

Those weeks promise to be intense with the Billy Goats travelling to Augsburg at the weekend and then hosting Freiburg. With a trip to Hertha to follow, and a final day clash with already relegated Schalke, they need to make up a four-point deficit on either Arminia Bielefeld or Werder Bremen to bring a somewhat positive end to a difficult year.

"We're 17th and want to stay up," said Funkel, who was delighted to celebrate his first win back in charge of the club after a chastening 3-0 defeat to local rivals Bayer Leverkusen in his first game in the hotseat. "We're delighted still to be in the hunt and we have four games to go and are aiming still to have a chance of staying up on Matchday 34. That's all it's about for us."

And if that means playing with Hector as a centre forward, it is a means to an end that Funkel will not be afraid of having seen the damage his captain can do in front of the opponent's goal on Matchday 30.