Cologne relegated after dramatic loss in Freiburg
Bottom side Cologne were officially relegated from the Bundesliga as they conceded a dramatic 3-2 defeat at Freiburg on Saturday.
Freiburg 3-2 Cologne
Goals: 1-0 Petersen (14'), 2-0 Petersen (52'), 2-1 Bittencourt (82'), 2-2 Bittencourt (87'), 3-2 Höler (90'+2)
Missed penalty: Günter (23')
Freiburg quickly took control of proceedings at the Schwarzwald-Stadion, going ahead on 14 minutes as Nils Petersen got ahead of Dominique Heintz to nod in a pinpoint Mike Frantz cross. The Billy Goats were looking shaky at the back and soon gave the hosts a chance to double their advantage – Marco Höger tripped Petersen inside the area and the referee awarded a penalty. However, Christian Günter's spot-kick effort was poor, allowing Timo Horn to make an easy save. Cologne may have been playing for their survival but they only created one real chance of note in the first half, with Simon Terodde flashing a header just wide. Jonas Hector was inches away from conceding an own goal from a Freiburg corner while Frantz had a couple of goalscoring opportunities, but the hosts had to be content with a 1-0 lead at the break.
The writing appeared to be on the wall for Cologne when Petersen made it 2-0 early in the second half after some lax defending from the visitors. But – as in the reverse fixture – the game burst into life in the closing stages. Leonardo Bittencourt gave the Billy Goats a glimmer of hope after volleying in Jorge Mere's cross, and the Schwarzwald-Stadion was stunned into silence as the 24-year-old doubled up five minutes later with a superb header. Claudio Pizarro came off the bench and could have turned in the goal that would have kept Cologne in the Bundesliga for at least another week – but it wasn't to be, as Lucas Höler netted a potentially vital goal for the hosts in stoppage time. Freiburg are now three points clear of the relegation playoff place, while the Billy Goats will have to prepare for life back in the second tier.
- Petersen has scored over half of Freiburg's league goals this season – 15 out of 28 – and is now the Bundesliga's top-scoring German. Five of his goals this term have come against Cologne.The 29-year-old's opener brought an end to a 410-minute goal drought for Freiburg in the Bundesliga.Cologne have now been relegated from the Bundesliga for a record sixth time in the last 20 years.Frantz made his first start since the 4 November, when he suffered a knee ligament injury in a 1-0 home defeat to Schalke. His assist for Petersen was his first of the campaign. The Black Forest side snapped a five-game losing streak in the Bundesliga, their worst run in 13 years.Christian Streich has guided Freiburg to six wins in seven Bundesliga meetings with Cologne.
Freiburg: Schwolow – Kübler, Gulde, Kempf, Günter – Schuster (c) (Koch 82'), Höfler – Frantz (Haberer 54'), Terrazzino – Kleindienst, Petersen (Höler 72')
Unused subs: Gikiewicz, Stenzel, Sierro, Guede
Absentees: Söyüncü (suspended), Niedermeier and Ignjovski (not considered), Stanko (knee), Abrashi (cruciate ligament), Ravet (thigh), Niederlechner (knee)
Coach: Christian Streich
Cologne: Horn – Mere, Maroh, Heintz – Risse, Höger, Hector (c), Handwerker (Koziello 63') – Osako (Pizarro 79'), Terodde (Cordoba 63'), Bittencourt
Unused subs: Kessler, Sörensen, Jojic, Özcan
Absentees: Queiros (not considered), Lehmann (arm), Guirassy (ankle)
Coach: Stefan Ruthenbeck
Watch: Horn: "Crowning moment of a messed-up season"