Mark Uth scored two goals and set up two more to help Hoffenheim crush his former side Cologne and boost their chances of qualifying for Europe again next season.
Hoffenheim 6-0 Cologne
Goals: 1-0 Gnabry (22'), 2-0 Gnabry (47'), 3-0 Uth (56'), 4-0 Rupp (61'), 5-0 Uth (65'), 6-0 Zuber (72')
Hoffenheim came storming out of the blocks at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar Arena and could have gone ahead within 30 seconds if Andrej Kramaric had done a better job of controlling Serge Gnabry's cross. The on-loan Bayern Munich man was particularly lively, unleashing a vicious effort from distance before coming within inches of putting the hosts ahead from Uth's volleyed cross-cum-shot. Cologne might have taken the lead completely against the run of play as Marco Höger headed just over from a Marcel Risse corner, but Hoffenheim soon got the goal their dominance deserved. Gnabry picked up the ball 35 yards out, twisted and turned his way past several Cologne defenders and fired high into the roof of the net for his sixth league goal of the season. He and Uth both had decent chances to double TSG's lead, while Oliver Baumann tipped over a Dominique Heintz effort as the home side went in 1-0 up at the break.
Hoffenheim picked up where they left off just after the interval, as Gnabry made it 2-0 with another superb solo effort. Picking up the ball inside the centre circle, the 22-year-old darted forward before driving a low effort past Timo Horn and into the bottom corner. The floodgates soon opened as top scorer Uth got in on the action as well, sweeping in his 11th goal of the campaign before the hour mark. Uth then teed up Lukas Rupp for 4-0, before completing a brace himself from Nico Schulz's cross. Though he was born in Cologne and came through the Billy Goats' youth system, Uth was in no mood to show his boyhood club any mercy, and he soon grabbed a second assist for substitute Steven Zuber as Julian Nagelsmann's side romped to their biggest ever Bundesliga win, closing to within three points of sixth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.
Man of the Match
Though Gnabry deserves an honourable mention for his excellent brace, there was no looking past Uth's decisive contribution of two goals and two assists. The 26-year-old remains Hoffenheim's top scorer this season with 12 league goals, and with more performances like this Nagelsmann's side could well find themselves back in Europe again next season.
- Hoffenheim claimed their biggest ever win in the Bundesliga.Uth has now scored two braces in a Bundesliga season for the first time. His previous double this term came against Bayern on Matchday 3.Rupp scored Hoffenheim's 50th league goal this season.Gnabry has now scored four goals in his last four Bundesliga games.Kramaric has scored seven goals in his last eight league games, but has failed to score against Cologne in five meetings.Before this game, the Billy Goats had only lost on one of their last six visits to the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar Arena.
Hoffenheim: Baumann – Akpoguma, Vogt (c), Hübner (Nordtveit 60') – Kaderabek, Grillitsch, Rupp (Zulj 67'), Schulz – Kramaric (Zuber 65'), Uth, Gnabry
Unused subs: Stolz, Polanski, Amiri, Szalai
Absentees: Geiger (thigh), Bicakcic (groin)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Cologne: T. Horn – Mere, Maroh, Heintz – Risse, Höger, Koziello, Hector (c) (Sörensen 69') – Osako (Cordoba 56'), Zoller, Bittencourt (Pizarro 56')
Unused subs: Kessler, Terodde, Özcan, Lehmann
Absentees: Guirassy (ankle), Queiros (neck)
Coach: Stefan Ruthenbeck
Watch: Gnabry: "We could have scored more!"
As it happened