Anthony Modeste was too hot to handle for Hertha Berlin as the Frenchman's hat-trick ensured all three points remained in Cologne and the Billy Goats moved up to sixth and into the Europa League positions.
Hertha began with the same starting XI for the fifth game running, but Cologne took an early lead through Yuya Osako’s swerving long-range effort after just five minutes. It was the Billy Goats’ earliest strike of the season, but Hertha ‘keeper Rune Jarstein will be disappointed not to have kept it out. Top scorer Anthony Modeste came within inches of doubling the lead after a quarter of an hour, but the Frenchman wasn’t to be denied his 20th goal of the campaign when he swept home from Osako’s cross. Just moments later he had no. 21 as he beat the Hertha offside trap, controlled the ball with a sublime flick on the run before striking low past Jarstein. The only Berlin chance of the first half fell to Vedad Ibisevic, but his header from Marvin Plattenhardt’s cross was straight at ‘keeper Timo Horn.
The Old Lady got the second half off to the perfect start as they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Niklas Stark. Captain Ibisevic stepped up to power the spot-kick home and reduce the deficit to two. However, Cologne’s advantage was back to three as Modeste capped off his hat-trick when he finessed an effort part Jarstein at the near post after another ball in behind. The capital club again brought it back to within two goals when John Anthony Brooks rose high to power in a header from a corner, but it was too little too late for Hertha.
Man of the match
This honour of course has to go to the scorer of the hat-trick: Anthony Modeste. The Frenchman was clinical as ever in front of goal as he bagged his 20th, 21st and 22nd goals of the campaign to move within one of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the head of the race for the Torjägerkanone.
Following five games in a row without a victory, Cologne returned to winning ways in some style and secured their first points against Hertha for two years. The result also moves the Billy Goats back into the European places and on the coattails of their vanquished opponents.
- Modeste has 22 goals from 25 games this season. The last Cologne player to reach that mark in a whole season was Klaus Allofs in 1984/85 (26).
- In the last four games between the sides, Vedad Ibisevic has scored five of Hertha’s seven goals.
- Osako scored his fourth goal of 2017 – twice as many as he managed in the 16 games before the winter break.
Cologne: Horn - Olkowski, Maroh, Subotic, Hector - Jojic (Sörensen 77'), Lehmann (c) - Clemens, Zoller (Höger 62') - Osako, Modeste
Coach: Peter Stöger
Hertha: Jarstein - Pekarik, Langkamp, Brooks, Plattenhardt - Stark, Skjelbred (Allagui 46‘) - Haraguchi (Mittelstädt 73'), Darida, Kalou (Weiser 30‘) - Ibisevic (c)
Coach: Pal Dardai
Watch: A tasty hat-trick for Modeste!: