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.

Match stats

  • 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.

Line-ups

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

As it happened