Achim Beierlorzer made three changes from the defeat to Bayern Munich last Saturday. Benno Schmitz, Jorge Meré and Anthony Modeste come in for Kingsley Ehizibue (suspended), Rafael Czichos (ill) and Kingsley Schindler (bench).
As for Ante Covic, he opted for two alterations from the team that secured victory against Paderborn. Marvin Plattenhardt and Ondrej Duda dropped out of the eleven, as Maximilian Mittelstädt and Vladimir Darida came into the team.
Achim Beierlorzer’s starting line-up plans were soon scrambled after just five minutes, as Dominick Drexler limped off injured with what appeared to be a groin problem. Kingsley Schindler was his replacement, but it was Florian Kainz who stung the palms of Rune Jarstein with a 25-yard free-kick.
FC had the first real clean-cut chance of the game after a quarter of an hour. A superb exchange on the left from Jonas Hector and Florian Kainz saw the former dig out an excellent cross into the middle. Jhon Cordoba was on hand to meet it, but Jarstein made a strong save from the Colombian’s header.
Despite all of FC’s good play and another headed chance for Cordoba, it was Hertha who went ahead. Javairo Dilrosun cut inside from the left after a pass from Vladimir Darida and was given the space to shoot. That the Dutchman did, and his swerving shot managed to find a way past Timo Horn.
Hertha continued to come forward, with Marius Wolf and Lukas Klünter combining well. Both fired dangerous crosses into the box but, luckily for FC, there was no-one able to convert at the back post. Beierlorzer’s side were then reduced to 10 men before the break. A tackle from Jorge Meré on Vladimir Darida at the half-way line was initially punished with a yellow card. However, upon review, Sören Storks opted to produce red.
Despite being a man down, FC began the second half positively. Anthony Modeste fired over and both Benno Schmitz and Kingsley Schindler began to see more of the ball down the right. Just when it looked like Beierlorzer’s men had found their feet, Hertha hit them with a sucker-punch. As the ball dropped inside the box, Lukas Klünter was able to cut the ball back to Vedad Ibisevic to finish.
Things got worse four minutes later, as Vladimir Darida found himself in behind the FC back-line. In almost an exact repeat of the second goal, his near post ball with tapped in at the near post by Ibisevic. Simon Terodde hit the crossbar with an excellent volley, but Hertha found a fourth when Dodi Lukebakio’s corner was headed in by Dedryck Boyata.
FC dropped into 17th due on goals scored, with a trip to the Veltins-Arena and FC Schalke 04 in the offing next week.
1. FC Köln (4-4-2): Horn – Schmitz, Bornauw, Meré, Hector – Drexler (Schindler 6’), Skhiri, Höger, Kainz – Cordoba, Modeste (Terodde 63‘).
Hertha BSC (4-2-3-1): Jarstein – Klünter, Stark, Boyata, Mittelstädt – Grujic, Skjelbred (Löwen 82‘) – Wolf, Darida, Dilrosun (Lukebakio 73‘) – Selke (Ibisevic 58‘).
Goals: 0:1, Dilrosun 23’. 0:2, Ibisevic 59’. 0:3, Ibisevic 62’. 0:4, Boyata 83’.
Referee: Sören Storks (Velen).
Bookings: Terodde (72’).
Sent-off: Mere (41’).