Wolfsburg got the result needed to avoid being automatically relegated alongside Cologne, but must beat Holstein Kiel over two legs in the relegation play-off if they are to extend their Bundesliga stay.
Wolfsburg 4-1 Cologne
Goals: 1-0 Guilavogui (1'), 1-1 Hector (32'), 2-1 Origi (54'), 3-1 Knoche (71'), 4-1 Brekalo (90+1')
With their fate in their own hands, Wolfsburg got off to the best possible start when Josuha Guilavogui drove past Timo Horn from 18 yards with less than a minute on the clock. The Wolves missed chances to extend their lead as Liverpool loanee Divock Origi was thwarted by Koen Casteels one-on-one, before Josip Brekalo saw an effort cleared off the line. Already relegated, Cologne had offered little save a couple of half chances for Simon Terodde, but levelled thanks to an ingenious turn and clipped finish from captain Jonas Hector.
Wolfsburg went all-out attack at the start of the second period, acutely aware that another goal for Hamburg, drawing 1-1 with Borussia Mönchengladbach, coupled with defeat to Cologne would send them down. Origi fired off a warning shot, but couldn't miss with his next attempt. Brekalo evaded a wave of red shirts en route to slipping in Renato Steffen, whose cut-back was inch-perfect for Origi to tuck into the empty net. Robin Knoche headed in a Brekalo free-kick and Brekalo added another to salvage the Wolves a lifeline via the play-offs and send Hamburg down.
- Guilavogui scored his first goal since 3 December 2017, when Wolfsburg last won at home before today.Guilavogui's effort was Wolfsburg's quickest goal since October 2015.Hector scored his second Bundesliga goal of the season - a career-best return.Knoche scored his first goal of the season.Cologne’s demotion brings to an end four seasons in the German top flight.In terms of points, this Billy Goats team is the worst in the club's Bundesliga history.
Wolfsburg: Casteels – Verhaegh (c) (Gerhardt 15'), Brooks, Knoche, William – Guilavogui, Arnold – Brekalo, Steffen (Blaszczykowski 71'), Malli (Rexbecaj 84') - Origi
Unused subs: Grün, Bruma, Uduokhai, Dimata
Absentees: Tisserand (thigh), Mehmedi (foot), Osimhen (shoulder), Didavi (not in squad)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia
Cologne: Horn - Mere, Heintz, Horn (Bittencourt 15') - Risse, Höger, Koziello, Jojic (Clemens 63'), Hector (c) - Pizarro (Osako 72'), Terodde
Unused subs: Kessler, Sörensen, Maroh, Zoller
Absentees: Lehmann (arm)
Coach: Stefan Ruthenbeck
Watch: Pizarro still thinking about retirement