Berlin, Germany | XINHUA | Cologne picked up crucial points in the relegation battle after upsetting second-placed Leipzig courtesy of Jonas Hector’s brace, awarding a 10-point lead to leaders Bayern Munich.
Leipzig assumed control and controlled possession from the starting whistle while Cologne defended deep and kept all its men behind the ball.
With three minutes gone, Leipzig was able to produce the first chance of the game after Nordi Mukiele’s first-timer from eleven meters missed the target just wide.
As the match progressed, Cologne’s well-positioned defense was able to keep the visitors at a distance as Julian Nagelsmann’s men had to wait until the closing stages of the first half for more chances. Christopher Nkunku lacked accuracy in the 37th minute before Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn defused Alexander Sorloth’s dangerous header moments later.
Leipzig’s was caught flatfooted after the restart as Cologne opened the scoring against the flow of the game after Jannis Horn’s pinpoint cross allowed Hector to head home the opener from close range in the 46th minute.
The visitors responded well and restored parity at the hour mark when Amadou Haidara unleashed a hammer from 20 meters into the top right corner.
The stalemate did not last long though as Cologne stunned Leipzig with the next attack when Ondrej Duda and Hector exchanged passes before the German international wrapped up his brace with a well-placed shot from 13 meters.
Leipzig pressed frenetically for the leveler but Cologne’s defense stood firm and defused promising chances from Angelino and Justin Kluivert in the dying minutes of the match.
With the result, second-placed Leipzig dropped points in the title race whereas 17th positioned, and relegation-threatened, Cologne snatched vital points.
Bayern Munich marches relentlessly towards their next title defense as the German giants are just one victory away from their ninth title in a row after securing a 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen.
The Bavarians paved the way for the 22nd win of the season with two quick goals in the opening stages.
Leverkusen caught the worst possible start on the road as Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting benefitted from Thomas Muller’s blocked shot before volleying home from close range with seven minutes gone.
Bayern continued on the front foot and made it two just six minutes later as Joshua Kimmich beat Leverkusen custodian Lukas Hradecky from the edge of the box.
The two goals slowed the game as Leverkusen lacked in penetration to overcome Bayern’s defense within the first 45 minutes.
After the restart, Hansi Flick’s men came out with guns blazing but Choupo-Moting’s goal was ruled offside in the 66th minute.
The disallowed goal was a wake-up call for Leverkusen, who rattled the woodwork in the 69th minute through Karim Bellarabi before Nadiem Amiri’s shot forced Bayern goalie Manuel Neuer into action in the closing stages.
However, Bayern’s win was never in danger as Leverkusen acted too hastily in front of target.
With the victory, Bayern Munich established a ten-point gap atop the standings with four rounds to spare meanwhile Leverkusen remains in the 6th spot.
Elsewhere, bottom side Schalke was relegated to the second division for the first time since 1988 after losing 1-0 to newly-promoted Arminia Bielefeld and Eintracht Frankfurt climbs to 3rd place after beating Augsburg 2-0.
The following matches conclude the 30th round on Wednesday: Werder Bremen host Mainz, newcomers Stuttgart face Wolfsburg, Borussia Dortmund see Union Berlin and Hoffenheim clash with Borussia Monchengladbach.